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Introductory Volumes: 

1. A Liberal Education 

2. The Great Ideas I 

3. The Great Ideas II 



















21. DANTE 















35. LOCKE 

36. SWIFT 






42. KANT 






46. HEGEL 




50. MARX 




54. FREUD 


C3all No,CKl /H^7 . Accession No. 
Author ffeft*ft/u& IK**/ JUJkl 

Thia book should be returned on or before the date 
last marked below. if' / 





MORTIMER J. ADLBR, Associate Editor 



Editorial Consultants: A. F. B. CLARK, F. L. LUCAS, WALTER MURDOCH. 

WALLACE BROCKWAY, Executive Editor 

K" CK" fw K* 
















- jffm 





Translated by RICHARD CRAWLEY 
Revised by R. FEETHAM 



HERODOTUS was born about four years after 
the battle of Salamis in Halicarnassus in Asia 
Minor. Although a Greek colony, the city had 
been subject to Persia for some time, and it 
remained so for half of Herodotus' life. He 
came from a Greek family which enjoyed a 
position of respect in Halicarnassus, and his 
uncle, or cousin, Panyasis, was famous in anti- 
quity as an epic poet. 

The Persian tyranny made any free political 
life impossible, and Herodotus, after his ele- 
mentary education, appears to have devoted 
himself to reading and travelling. In addi- 
tion to his unusually thorough knowledge of 
Homer, he had an intimate acquaintance with 
the whole range of Greek literature. In his 
History he quotes or shows familiarity with, 
among others, Hesiod, Hecataeus, Sappho, 
Solon, Aesop, Simonides of Ceos, Aeschylus, 
and Pindar. Whether or not the plan of his 
History governed or grew out of his travels is 
not known. All the dates of his travels are 
uncertain; it is thought that most of them were 
made between his twentieth and thirty-seventh 
year. The History reveals the elaborateness of 
his observation and inquiry. He traversed Asia 
Minor and European Greece probably more 
than once, visited all the most important 
islands of the Archipelago Rhodes, Cyprus, 
Delos, Paros, Thasos, Samothrace, Crete, 
Samos, Cythera, and Aegina , made the long 
journey from Sardis to the Persian capital of 
Susa, saw Babylon, Colchis, and the western 
shores of the Euxine as far as the Dnieper, 
travelled in Scythia, Thrace, and Greater 
Greece, explored the antiquities of Tyre, 
coasted along the shores of Palestine, saw 
Gaza, and made a long stay in Egypt. 

Apart from the travels undertaken in his 
professional capacity, political developments 
involved Herodotus in many shifts of resi- 
dence. About 454 B.C. his relative, Panyasis, 
was executed by Lygdamis, the tyrant of Hali- 
carnassus. Herodotus left his native city for 
Samos, which was then an important member 
of the Athenian Confederacy. He was there for 

seven or eight years and perhaps took part ir 
the preparations for the overthrow of Lyg 
damis. After the expulsion of the tyrant, ii 
which the Athenian fleet may have been a deci 
sive factor, he returned to Halicarnassus 
which then became a member of the Confed 
eracy. He remained there less than a year. I 
is surmised that an unfavorable reception t< 
parts of his History and the ascendency" of th< 
anti-Athenian party caused Herodotus to leav< 
Halicarnassus for Athens. 

At Athens, Herodotus seems to have beer 
admitted into the brilliant Periclean society 
He was particularly intimate with Sophocles 
who is said to have written a poem in hi: 
honour. Plutarch records that the public read 
ings he gave from his History won such ap 
proval that in 445 B.C., on the proposal of Any 
tus, the Athenian people voted to award him ; 
large sum of money. At one of his recitations 
the story is told that the young Thucydides wa: 
present with his father and was so moved thai 
he burst into tears, whereupon Herodotus re 
marked: "Olorus, your son has a natural en 
thusiasm for letters." 

Despite his fame in Athens, Herodotus ma^ 
not have been reconciled to his status as a for 
eigner without citizenship. He was either un 
willing or unable to return to his native land 
When in 443 B.C. Pericles sent out a colony tc 
settle Thurii in southern Italy, Herodotus was 
one of its members. He was then forty yean 

From this point in his career Herodotus dis 
appears completely. He may have undertaker 
some of his travels after this time, and there ii 
evidence of his returning to Athens, but it i 
inconclusive. He was undoubtedly occupiec 
with completing and perfecting his History 
He may also have composed at Thurii the spe 
cial work on the history of Assyria to which he 
refers and which Aristotle quotes. 

From the indications afforded by his work it 
is inferred that he did not live later than 425 
B.C. Presumably he died at Thurii; it was there 
that his tomb was shown in later ages. 













MAPS, p. 

I. Babylon 
II. Persian Empire 

III. Scythia 

IV. Africa, According to Herodotus 
V. The Region of the Aegean 

VI. Marathon 

VII. Thermopylae 

VIII. Salamis 

IX. Plataea 

INDEX, p. 325 

The First Book, Entitled 

THESE are the researches of Herodotus of Halicarnassus, which he publishes, 
in the hope of thereby preserving from decay the remembrance of what men 
have done, and of preventing the great and wonderful actions of the Greeks 
and the Barbarians from losing their due meed of glory; and withal to put on 
record what were their grounds of feud. 

i. According to the Persians best informed in 
history, the Phoenicians began to quarrel. This 
people, who had formerly dwelt on the shores 
of the Erythraean Sea, 1 having migrated to the 
Mediterranean and settled in the parts which 
they now inhabit, began at once, they say, to 
adventure on long voyages, freighting their 
vessels with the wares of Egypt and Assyria. 
They landed at many places on the coast, and 
among the rest at Argos, which was then pre- 
eminent above all the states included now un- 
der the common name of Hellas. 2 Here they 
exposed their merchandise, and traded with 
the natives for five or six days; at the end of 
which time, when almost everything was sold, 
there came down to the beach a number of 
women, and among them the daughter of the 
king, who was, they say, agreeing in this with 
the Greeks, lo, the child of Inachus. The 
women were standing by the stern of the ship 
intent upon their purchases, when the Phoeni- 
cians, with a general shout, rushed upon them. 
The greater part made their escape, but some 
were seized and carried off. lo herself was 
among the captives. The Phoenicians put the 
women on board their vessel, and set sail for 

1 The Indian Ocean, or rather both the Indian 
Ocean and the Persian Gulf, which latter Herod- 
otus does not consider distinct from the Ocean, 
being ignorant of its shape. 

2 The ancient superiority of Argos is indicated 
by the position of Agamemnon at the time of the 
Trojan war and by the use of the word Argive in 
Homer for Greek generally. No other name of a 
single people is used in the same generic way. 

Egypt. Thus did lo pass into Egypt, according 
to the Persian story, which differs widely from 
the Phoenician: and thus commenced, accord- 
ing to their authors, the series of outrages. 

2. At a later period, certain Greeks, with 
whose name they are unacquainted, but who 
would probably be Cretans, made a landing at 
Tyre, on the Phoenician coast, and bore off the 
king's daughter, Europe. In this they only re- 
taliated; but afterwards the Greeks, they say, 
were guilty of a second violence. They manned 
a ship of war, and sailed to /a, a city of Col- 
chis, on the river Phasis; from whence, after 
despatching the rest of the business on which 
they had come, they carried off Medea, the 
daughter of the king of the land. The monarch 
sent a herald into Greece to demand reparation 
of the wrong, and the restitution of his child; 
but the Greeks made answer that, having re- 
ceived no reparation of the wrong done them 
in the seizure of lo the Argive, they should 
give none in this instance. 

3. In the next generation afterwards, accord- 
ing to the same authorities, Alexander the son 
of Priam, bearing these events in mind, re- 
solved to procure himself a wife out of Greece 
by violence, fully persuaded, that as the Greeks 
had not given satisfaction for their outrages, so 
neither would he be forced to make any for 
his. Accordingly he made prize of Helen; upon 
which the Greeks decided that, before resort- 
ing to other measures, they would send envoys 
to reclaim the princess and require reparation 
of the wrong. Their demands were met by a 
reference to the violence which had been of- 


[ BOOK i 

fered to Medea, and they were asked with 
what face they could now require satisfaction, 
when they had formerly rejected all demands 
for either reparation or restitution addressed to 

4. Hitherto the injuries on either side had 
been mere acts of common violence; but in 
what followed the Persians consider that the 
Greeks were greatly to blame, since before any 
attack had been made on Europe, they led an 
army into Asia. Now as for the carrying off of 
women, it is the deed, they say, of a rogue: but 
to make a stir about such as are carried off, 
argues a man a fool. Men of sense care nothing 
for such women, since it is plain that without 
their own consent they would never be forced 
away. The Asiatics, when the Greeks ran off 
with their women, never troubled themselves 
about the matter; but the Greeks, for the sake 
of a single Lacedaemonian girl, collected a vast 
armament, invaded Asia, and destroyed the 
kingdom of Priam. Henceforth they ever 
looked upon the Greeks as their open enemies. 
For Asia, with all the various tribes of barbar- 
ians that inhabit it, is regarded by the Persians 
as their own; but Europe and the Greek race 
they look on as distinct and separate. 

5. Such is the account which the Persians 
give of these matters. They trace to the attack 
upon Troy their ancient enmity towards the 
Greeks. The Phoenicians, however, as regards 
lo, vary from the Persian statements. They 
deny that they used any violence to remove 
her into Egypt; she herself, they say, having 
formed an intimacy with the captain, while his 
vessel lay at Argos, and perceiving herself to be 
with child, of her own free will accompanied 
the Phoenicians on their leaving the shore, to 
escape the shame of detection and the re- 
proaches of her parents. Whether this latter ac- 
count be true, or whether the matter happened 
otherwise, I shall not discuss further. I shall 
proceed at once to point out the person who 
first within my own knowledge inflicted in- 
jury on the Greeks, after which I shall go for- 
ward with my history, describing equally the 
greater and the lesser cities. For the cities 
which were formerly great have most of them 
become insignificant; and such as are at pres- 
ent powerful, were weak in the olden time. I 
shall therefore discourse equally of both, con- 
vinced that human happiness never continues 
long in one stay. 

6. Croesus, son of Alyattes, by birth a Lyd- 
ian, was lord of all the nations to the west of 
the river Halys. This stream, which separates 

Syria 1 from Paphlagonia, runs with a course 
from south to north,, and finally falls into the 
Euxine. So far as our knowledge goes, he was 
the first of the barbarians who had dealings 
with the Greeks, forcing some of them to be- 
come his tributaries, and entering into alliance 
with others. He conquered the ^Eohans, lon- 
ians, and Dorians of Asia, and made a treaty 
with the Lacedaemonians. Up to that time all 
Greeks had been free. For the Cimmerian at- 
tack upon Ionia, which was earlier than Croe- 
sus, was not a conquest of the cities, but only 
an inroad for plundering. 

7. The sovereignty of Lydia, which had be- 
longed to the Heraclides, passed into the fam- 
ily of Croesus, who were called the Mermnadae, 
in the manner which I will now relate. There 
was a certain king of Sardis, Candaules by 
name, whom the Greeks called Myrsilus. He 
was a descendant of Alcaeus, son of Hercules. 
The first king of this dynasty was Agron, son 
of Ninus, grandson of Belus, and great-grand- 
son of Alcaeus; Candaules, son of Myrsus, was 
the last. The kings who reigned before Agron 
sprang from Lydus, son of Atys, from whom 
the people of the land, called previously Meon- 
ians, received the name of Lydians. The Hera- 
clides, descended from Hercules and the slave- 
girl of Jardanus, having been entrusted by these 
princes with the management of affairs, ob- 
tained the kingdom by an oracle. Their rule 
endured for two and twenty generations of 
men, a space of five hundred and five years; 
during the whole of which period, from Agron 
to Candaules, the crown descended in the di- 
rect line from father to son. 

8. Now it happened that this Candaules was 
in love with his own wife; and not only so, but 
thought her the fairest woman in the whole 
world. This fancy had strange consequences. 
There was in his bodyguard a man whom he 
specially favoured, Gyges, the son of Dascylus. 
All affairs of greatest moment were entrusted 
by Candaules to this person, and to him he was 
wont to extol the surpassing beauty of his wife. 
So matters went on for a while. At length, one 
day, Candaules, who was fated to end ill, thus 
addressed his follower: "I see thou dost not 
credit what I tell thee of my lady's loveliness; 
but come now, since men's ears are less credu- 
lous than their eyes, contrive some means 
whereby thou mayst behold her naked." At 

1 By Syria Herodotus here means Cappadocia, 
the inhabitants of which he calls Syrians (i. 72, 
and vii. 72), or Cappadocian Syrians (Zvptovt 
Kas i. 72). 

this the other loudly exclaimed, saying, "What 
most unwise speech is this, master, which thou 
hast uttered? Wouldst tnou have me behold 
my mistress when she is naked ? Bethink thee 
that a woman, with her clothes, puts off her 
bashfulness. Our fathers, in time past, distin- 
guished right and wrong plainly enough, and 
it is our wisdom to submit to be taught by 
them. There is an old saying, 4 Let each look on 
his own.' I hold thy wife for the fairest of all 
womankind. Only, I beseech thee, ask me not 
to do wickedly." 

9. Gyges thus endeavoured to decline the 
king's proposal, trembling lest some dreadful 
evil should befall him through it. But the king 
replied to him, "Courage, friend; suspect me 
not of the design to prove thee by this dis- 
course; nor dread thy mistress, lest mischief be- 
fall thee at her hands. Be sure! will so manage 
that she shall not even know that thou hast 
looked upon her. I will place thee behind the 
open door of the chamber in which we sleep. 
When I enter to go to rest she will follow me. 
There stands a chair close to the entrance, on 
which she will lay her clothes one by one as she 
takes them off. Thou wilt be able thus at thy 
leisure to peruse her person. Then, when she is 
moving from the chair toward the bed, and her 
back is turned on thee, be it thy care that she 
see thee not as thou passest through the door- 

10. Gyges, unable to escape, could but de- 
clare his readiness. Then Candaules, when 
bedtime came, led Gyges into his sleeping- 
chamber, and a moment after the queen fol- 
lowed. She entered, and laid her garments on 
the chair, and Gyges gazed on her. After a 
while she moved toward the bed, and her back 
being then turned, he glided stealthily from 
the apartment. As he was passing out, how- 
ever, she saw him, and instantly divining what 
had happened, she neither screamed as her 
shame impelled her, nor even appeared to have 
noticed aught, purposing to take vengeance 
upon the husband who had so affronted her. 
For among the Lydians, and indeed among 
the barbarians generally, it is reckoned a deep 
disgrace, even to a man, to be seen naked. 

11. No sound or sign of intelligence escaped 
her at the time. But in the morning, as soon as 
day broke, she hastened to choose from among 
her retinue such as she knew to be most faith- 
ful to her, and preparing them for what was 
to ensue, summoned Gyges into her presence. 
Now it had often happened before that the 
queen had desired to confer with him, and he 

1UK Y 5 

was accustomed to come to her at her call. He 
therefore obeyed the summons, not suspecting 
that she knew aught of what had occurred. 
Then she addressed these words to him: "Take 
thy choice, Gyges, of two courses which are 
open to thee. Slay Candaules, and thereby be- 
come my lord, and obtain the Lydian throne, 
or die this moment in his room. So wilt thou 
not again, obeying all behests of thy master, be- 
hold what is not lawful for thee. It must needs 
be that either he perish by whose counsel this 
thing was done, or thou, who sa west me naked, 
and so didst break our usages." At these words 
Gyges stood awhile in mute astonishment; re- 
covering after a time, he earnestly besought the 
queen that she would not compel him to so 
hard a choice. But finding he implored in vain, 
and that necessity was indeed laid on him to 
kill or to be killed, he made choice of life for 
himself, and replied by this inquiry: "If it must 
be so, and thou compellest me against my will 
to put my lord to death, come, let me hear how 
thou wilt have me set on him." "Let him be at- 
tacked," she answered, "on the spot where I 
was by him shown naked to you, and let the 
assault be made when he is asleep." 

12. All was then prepared for the attack, and 
when night fell, Gyges, seeing that he had no 
retreat or escape, but must absolutely either slay 
Candaules, or himself be slain, followed his 
mistress into the sleeping-room. She placed a 
dagger in his hand, and hid him carefully behind 
the self-same door. Then Gyges, when the king 
was fallen asleep, entered privily into the cham- 
ber and struck him dead. Thus did the wife 
and kingdom of Candaules pass into the posses- 
sion of Gyges, of whom Archilochus the Parian, 
who lived about the same time, made mention 
in a poem written in iambic trimeter verse. 

13. Gyges was afterwards confirmed in the 
possession of the throne by an answer of the 
Delphic oracle. Enraged at the murder of their 
king, the people flew to arms, but after a while 
the partisans of Gyges came to terms with 
them, and it was agreed that if the Delphic 
oracle declared him king of the Lydians, he 
should reign; if otherwise, he should yield the 
throne to the Heraclidcs. As the oracle was 
given in his favour he became king. The Py- 
thoness, however, added that, in the fifth gen- 
eration from Gyges, vengeance should come 
for the Heraclides; a prophecy of which 
neither the Lydians nor their princes took any 
account till it was fulfilled. Such was the way 
in which the Mermnadz deposed the Herach- 
des, and themselves obtained the sovereignty. 



14. When Gygcs was established on the 
throne, he sent no small presents to Delphi, as 
his many silver offerings at the Delphic shrine 
testify. Besides this silver he gave a vast num- 
ber of vessels of gold, among which the most 
worthy of mention are the goblets, six in num- 
ber, and weighing altogether thirty talents, 
which stand in the Corinthian treasury, dedi- 
cated by him. I call it the Corinthian treasury, 
though in strictness of speech it is the treasury 
not of the whole Corinthian people, but of 
Cypselus, son of Eetion. Excepting Midas, son 
of Gordias, king of Phrygia, Gyges was the 
first of the barbarians whom we know to have 
sent offerings to Delphi. Midas dedicated the 
royal throne whereon he was accustomed to sit 
and administer justice, an object well worth 
looking at. It lies in the same place as the gob- 
lets presented by Gyges. The Delphians call the 
whole of the silver and the gold which Gyges 
dedicated, after the name of the donor, Gygian. 

As soon as Gyges was king he made an in- 
road on Miletus and Smyrna, and took the city 
of Colophon. Afterwards, however, though he 
reigned eight and thirty years, he did not per- 
form a single noble exploit. I shall therefore 
make no further mention of him, but pass on 
to his son and successor in the kingdom, Ardys. 

15. Ardys took Priene and made war upon 
Miletus. In his reign the Cimmerians, driven 
from their homes by the nomads of Scythia, 
entered Asia and captured Sardis, all but the 
citadel. He reigned forty-nine years, and was 
succeeded by his son, Sadyattes, who reigned 
twelve years. At his death his son Alyattes 
mounted the throne. 

1 6. This prince waged war with the Medes 
under Cyaxares, the grandson of Deioces, drove 
the Cimmerians out of Asia, conquered 
Smyrna, the Colophonian colony, and invaded 
Clazomense. From this last contest he did not 
come off as he could have wished, but met with 
a sore defeat; still, however, in the course of his 
reign, he performed other actions very worthy 
of note, of which I will now proceed to give an 

17. Inheriting from his father a war with 
the Milesians, he pressed the siege against the 
city by attacking it in the following manner. 
When the harvest was ripe on the ground he 
marched his army into Milesia to the sound of 
pipes and harps, and flutes masculine and fem- 
inine. The buildings that were scattered over 
the country he neither pulled down nor burnt, 
nor did he even tear away the doors, but left 
them standing as they were. He cut down, 

however, and utterly destroyed all the trees and 
all the corn throughout the land, and then re- 
turned to his own dominions. It was idle for 
his army to sit down before the place, as the 
Milesians were masters of the sea. The reason 
that he did not demolish their buildings was 
that the inhabitants might be tempted to use 
them as homesteads from which to go forth to 
sow and till their lands; and so each time that 
he invaded the country he might find some- 
thing to plunder. 

1 8. In this way he carried on the war with 
the Milesians for eleven years, in the course of 
which he inflicted on them two terrible blows; 
one in their own country in the district of 
Limeneium,the other in the plain of the Macan- 
der. During six of these eleven years, Sadyattes, 
the son of Ardys, who first lighted the flames 
of this war, was king of Lydia, and made the 
incursions. Only the five following years be- 
long to the reign of Alyattes, son of Sadyattes, 
who (as I said before) inheriting the war from 
his father, applied himself to it unremittingly. 
The Milesians throughout the contest received 
no help at all from any of the lonians, except- 
ing those of Chios, who lent them troops in re- 
quital of a like service rendered them in for- 
mer times, the Milesians having fought on the 
side of the Chians during the whole of the war 
between them and the people of Erythrae. 

19. It was in the twelfth year of the war that 
the following mischance occurred from the fir- 
ing of the harvest-fields. Scarcely had the corn 
been set alight by the soldiers when a violent 
wind carried the flames against the temple of 
Minerva Assesia, which caught fire and was 
burnt to the ground. At the time no one made 
any account of the circumstance; but after- 
wards, on the return of the army to Sardis, 
Alyattes fell sick. His illness continued, where- 
upon, either advised thereto by some friend, or 
perchance himself conceiving the idea, he sent 
messengers to Delphi to inquire of the god con- 
cerning his malady. On their arrival the Py- 
thoness declared that no answer should be 
given them until they had rebuilt the temple of 
Minerva, burnt by the Lydians at Assesus in 

20. Thus much I know from information 
given me by the Delphians; the remainder of 
the story the Milesians add. 

The answer made by the oracle came to the 
ears of Periander, son of Cypseius, who was a 
very close friend to Thrasybulus, tyrant of 
Miletus at that period. He instantly despatched 
a messenger to report the oracle to him, in or- 



der that Thrasybulus, forewarned of its tenor, 
might the better adapt his measures to the pos- 
ture of affairs. 

21. Alyattes, the moment that the words of 
the oracle were reported to him, sent a herald to 
Miletus in hopes of concluding a truce with 
Thrasybulus and the Milesians for such a time 
as was needed to rebuild the temple. The herald 
went upon his way; but meantime Thrasybu- 
lus had been apprised of everything; and con- 
jecturing what Alyattes would do, he contrived 
this artifice. He had all the corn that was in the 
city, whether belonging to himself or to private 
persons, brought into the market-place, and 
issued an order that the Milesians should hold 
themselves in readiness, and, when he gave the 
signal, should, one and all, fall to drinking and 

22. The purpose for which he gave these or- 
ders was the following. He hoped that the Sar- 
dian herald, seeing so great store of corn upon 
the ground, and all the city given up to festiv- 
ity, would inform Alyattes of it, which fell out 
as he anticipated. The herald observed the 
whole, and when he had delivered his message, 
went back to Sardis. This circumstance alone, 
as I gather, brought about the peace which en- 
sued. Alyattes, who had hoped that there was 
now a great scarcity of corn in Miletus, and 
that the people were worn down to the last 
pitch of suffering, when he heard from the 
herald on his return from Miletus tidings so 
contrary to those he had expected, made a 
treaty with the enemy by which the two na- 
tions became close friends and allies. He then 
built at Assesus two temples to Minerva in- 
stead of one, and shortly after recovered from 
his malady. Such were the chief circumstances 
of the war which Alyattes waged with Thra- 
sybulus and the Milesians. 

23. This Periander, who apprised Thrasybu- 
lus of the oracle, was son of Cypselus, and ty- 
rant of Corinth. In his time a very wonderful 
thing is said to have happened. The Corinthi- 
ans and the Lesbians agree in their account of 
the matter. They relate that Arion of Methym- 
na, who as a player on the harp, was second to 
no man living at that time, and who was, so 
far as we know, the first to invent the dithy- 
rambic measure, to give it its name, and to re- 
cite in it at Corinth, was carried to Taenarum 
on the back of a dolphin. 

24. He had lived for many years at the court 
of Periander, when a longing came upon him 
to sail across to Italy and Sicily. Having made 
rich profits in those parts, he wanted to recross 

the seas to Corinth. He therefore hired a vessel, 
the crew of which were Corinthians, thinking 
that there was no people in whom he could 
more safely confide; and, going on board, he 
set sail from Tarentum. The sailors, however, 
when they reached the open sea, formed a plot 
to throw him overboard and seize upon his 
riches. Discovering their design, he fell on his 
knees, beseeching them to spare his life, and 
making them welcome to his money. But they 
refused; and required him either to kill him- 
self outright, if he wished for a grave on the 
dry land, or without loss of time to leap over- 
board into the sea. In this strait Arion begged 
them, since such was their pleasure, to allow 
him to mount upon the quarter-deck, dressed 
in his full costume, and there to play and sing, 
and promising that, as soon as his song was 
ended, he would destroy himself. Delighted at 
the prospect of hearing the very best harper in 
the world, they consented, and withdrew from 
the stern to the middle of the vessel: while 
Arion dressed himself in the full costume of his 
calling, took his harp, and standing on the 
quarter-deck, chanted the Orthian. His strain 
ended, he flung himself, fully attired as he was, 
headlong into the sea. The Corinthians then 
sailed on to Corinth. As for Arion, a dolphin, 
they say, took him upon his back and carried 
him to Taenarum, where he went ashore, and 
thence proceeded to Corinth in his musician's 
dress, and told all that had happened to him. 
Periander, however, disbelieved the story, and 
put Anon in ward, to prevent his leaving Cor- 
inth, while he watched anxiously for the re- 
turn of the mariners. On their arrival he sum- 
moned them before him and asked them if 
they could give him any tiding of Arion. They 
returned for answer that he was alive and in 
good health in Italy, and that they had left him 
at Tarentum, where he was doing well. There- 
upon Arion appeared before them, just as he 
was when he jumped from the vessel: the men, 
astonished and detected in falsehood, could no 
longer deny their guilt. Such is the account 
which the Corinthians and Lesbians give; and 
there is to this day at Tacnarum, an offering of 
Arion's at the shrine, which is a small figure in 
bronze, representing a man seated upon a 

25. Having brought the war with the Mile- 
sians to a close, and reigned over the land of 
Lydia for fifty-seven years, Alyattes died. He 
was the second prince of his house who made 
offerings at Delphi. His gifts, which he sent on 
recovering from his sickness, were a great 


f BOOK i 

bowl of pure silver, with a salver in steel curi- 
ously inlaid, a work among all the offerings at 
Delphi the best worth looking at. Glaucus, the 
Chian, made it, the man who first invented the 
art of inlaying steel. 

26. On the death of Alyattcs, Croesus, his 
son, who was thirty-five years old, succeeded to 
the throne. Of the Greek cities, Ephesus was the 
first that he attacked. The Ephesians, when he 
laid siege to the place, made an offering of 
their city to Diana, by stretching a rope from 
the town wall to the temple of the goddess, 
which was distant from the ancient city, then 
besieged by Croesus, a space of seven furlongs. 
They were, as I said, the first Greeks whom he 
attacked. Afterwards, on some pretext or other, 
he made war in turn upon every Ionian and 
JEolian state, bringing forward, where he 
could, a substantial ground of complaint; where 
such failed him, advancing some poor excuse. 

27. In this way he made himself master of 
all the Greek cities in Asia, and forced them to 
become his tributaries; after which he began to 
think of building ships, and attacking the 
islanders. Everything had been got ready for 
this purpose, when Bias of Priene (or, as some 
say, Pittacus the Mytilenean) put a stop to the 
project. The king had made inquiry of this 
person, who was lately arrived at Sardis, if 
there were any news from Greece; to which he 
answered, "Yes, sire, the islanders are gather- 
ing ten thousand horse, designing an expedi- 
tion against thce and against thy capital." Croe- 
sus, thinking he spake seriously, broke out, 
"Ah, might the gods put such a thought into 
their minds as to attack the sons of the Lydians 
with cavalry!" "It seems, oh' king," rejoined 
the other, "that thou desirest earnestly to catch 
the islanders on horseback upon the mainland, 
thou knowest well what would come of it. 
But what thinkest thou the islanders desire bet- 
ter, now that they hear thou art about to build 
ships and sail against them, than to catch the 
Lydians at sea, and there revenge on them the 
wrongs of their brothers upon the mainland, 
whom thou boldest in slavery?" Croesus was 
charmed with the turn of the speech; and 
thinking there was reason in what was said, 
gave up his ship-building and concluded a 
league of amity with the lonians of the isles. 

28. Croesus afterwards, in the course of 
many years, brought under his sway almost all 
the nations to the west of the Halys. The Lyci- 
ans and Cilicians alone continued free; all the 
other tribes he reduced and held in subjection. 
They were the following: the Lydians, Phryg- 

ians, Mysians, Mariandynians, Chalybians, 
Paphlagonians, Thynian and Bithynian Thra- 
cians, Carians, lonians, Dorians, ^Eolians and 
Pamphylians. 1 

29. When all these conquests had been 
added to the Lydian empire, and the prosperity 
of Sardis was now at its height, there came 
thither, one after another, all the sages of 
Greece living at the time, and among them 
Solon, the Athenian. He was on his travels, 
having left Athens to be absent ten years, un- 
der the pretence of wishing to see the world, 
but really to avoid being forced to repeal any 
of the laws which, at the request of the Athen- 
ians, he had made for them. Without his sanc- 
tion the Athenians could not repeal them, as 
they had bound themselves under a heavy 
curse to be governed for ten years by the laws 
which should be imposed on them by Solon. 

30. On this account, as well as to see the 
world, Solon set out upon his travels, in the 
course of which he went to Egypt to the court 
of Amasis, and also came on a visit to Croesus 
at Sardis. Croesus received him as his guest, 
and lodged him in the royal palace. On the 
third or fourth day after, he bade his servants 
conduct Solon over his treasuries, and show 
him all their greatness and magnificence. 
When he had seen them all, and, so far as time 
allowed, inspected them, Croesus addressed 
this question to him. "Stranger of Athens, we 
have heard much of thy wisdom and of thy 
travels through many lands, from love of 
knowledge and a wish to see the world. I am 
curious therefore to inquire of thee, whom, of 
all the men that thou hast seen, thou deemest 
the most happy?" This he asked because he 
thought himself the happiest of mortals: but 
Solon answered him without flattery, accord- 
ing to his true sentiments, "Tellus of Athens, 
sire." Full of astonishment at what he heard, 
Croesus demanded sharply, "And wherefore 
dost thou deem Tellus happiest?" To which 
the other replied, "First, because his country 
was flourishing in his days, and he himself had 
sons both beautiful and good, and he lived to 
see children born to each of them, and these 
children all grew up; and further because, after 
a life spent in what our people look upon as 
comfort, his end was surpassingly glorious. In 
a battle between the Athenians and their 

1 It is not quite correct to speak of the Cilici- 
ans as dwelling within (i.e., west of) the Halys, 
for the Halys in its upper course ran through 
Cilicia (M KtXfew, I. 72), and that country lay 
chiefly south of the river. 



neighbours near Eleusis, he came to the assist- 
ance of his countrymen, routed the foe, and 
died upon the field most gallantly. The Athe- 
nians gave him a public funeral on the spot 
where he fell, and paid him the highest hon- 

31. Thus did Solon admonish Croesus by the 
example of Tellus, enumerating the manifold 
particulars of his happiness. When he had 
ended, Crcesus inquired a second time, who 
after Tellus seemed to him the happiest, ex- 
pecting that at any rate, he would be given the 
second place. "Cleobis and Bito," Solon an- 
swered; "they were of Argive race; their for- 
tune was enough for their wants, and they 
were besides endowed with so much bodily 
strength that they had both gained prizes at 
the Games. Also this tale is told of them: 
There was a great festival in honour of the 
goddess Juno at Argos, to which their mother 
must needs be taken in a car. Now the oxen 
did not come home from the field in time: so 
the youths, fearful of being too late, put the 
yoke on their own necks, and themselves drew 
the car in which their mother rode. Five and 
forty furlongs did they draw her, and stopped 
before the temple. This deed of theirs was wit- 
nessed by the whole assembly of worshippers, 
and then their life closed in the best possible 
way. Herein, too, God showed forth most evi- 
dently, how much better a thing for man death 
is than life. For the Argive men, who stood 
around the car, extolled the vast strength of the 
youths; and the Argive women extolled the 
mother who was blessed with such a pair of 
sons; and the mother herself, overjoyed at the 
deed and at the praises it had won, standing 
straight before the image, besought the god- 
dess to bestow on Cleobis and Bito, the sons 
who had so mightily honoured her, the highest 
blessing to which mortals can attain. Her 
prayer ended, they offered sacrifice and par- 
took of the holy banquet, after which the two 
youths fell asleep in the temple. They never 
woke more, but so passed from the earth. The 
Argives, looking on them as among the best of 
men, caused statues of them to be made, which 
they gave to the shrine at Delphi." 

32. When Solon had thus assigned these 
youths the second place, Crcesus broke in an- 
grily, "What, stranger of Athens, is my happi- 
ness, then, so utterly set at nought by thec, that 
thou dost not even put me on a level with 
private men?" 

"Oh! Croesus," replied the other, "thou ask- 
edst a question concerning the condition of 

man, of one who knows that the power above 
us is full of jealousy, and fond of troubling our 
lot. A long life gives one to witness much, and 
experience much oneself, that one would not 
choose. Seventy years I regard as the limit of 
the life of man. In these seventy years are con- 
tained, without reckoning intercalary months, 
twenty-five thousand and two hundred days. 
Add an intercalary month to every other year, 
that the seasons may come round at the right 
time, and there will be, besides the seventy 
years, thirty-five such months, making an addi- 
tion of one thousand and fifty days. The whole 
number of the days contained in the seventy 
years will thus be twenty-six thousand two 
hundred and fifty, whereof not one but will 
produce events unlike the rest. Hence man is 
wholly accident. For thyself, oh! Croesus, I see 
that thou art wonderfully rich, and art the lord 
of many nations; but with respect to that 
whereon thou questionest me, I have no an- 
swer to give, until I hear that thou hast closed 
thy life happily. For assuredly he who possesses 
great store of riches is no nearer happiness 
than he who has what suffices for his daily 
needs, unless it so hap that luck attend upon 
him, and so he continue in the enjoyment of 
all his good things to the end of life. For many 
of the wealthiest men have been unfavoured of 
fortune, and many whose means were moder- 
ate have had excellent luck. Men of the former 
class excel those of the latter but in two re- 
spects; these last excel the former in many. The 
wealthy man is better able to content his de- 
sires, and to bear up against a sudden buffet of 
calamity. The other has less ability to with- 
stand these evils (from which, however, his 
good luck keeps him clear), but he enjoys all 
these following blessings: he is whole of limb, 
a stranger to disease, free from misfortune, 
happy in his children, and comely to look 
upon. If, in addition to all this, he end his life 
well, he is of a truth the man of whom thou art 
in search, the man who may rightly be termed 
happy. Call him, however, until he die, not 
happy but fortunate. Scarcely, indeed, can any 
man unite all these advantages: as there is no 
country which contains within it all that it 
needs, but each, while it possesses some things, 
lacks others, and the best country is that which 
contains the most; so no single human being is 
complete in every respect something is al- 
ways lacking. He who unites the greatest num- 
ber of advantages, and retaining them to the 
day of his death, then dies peaceably, that man 
alone, sire, is, in my judgment, entitled to bear 



[ BOOK i 

the name of 'happy.' But in every matter it be- 
hoves us to mark well the end: for oftentimes 
God gives men a gleam of happiness, and then 
plunges them into ruin." 

33. Such was the speech which Solon ad- 
dressed to Croesus, a speech which brought 
him neither largess nor honour. The king saw 
him depart with much indifference, since he 
thought that a man must be an arrant fool who 
made no account of present good, but bade 
men always wait and mark the end. 

34. After Solon had gone away a dreadful 
vengeance, sent of God, came upon Croesus, to 
punish him, it is likely, for deeming himself 
the happiest of men. First he had a dream in 
the night, which foreshowed him truly the 
evils that were about to befall him in the per- 
son of his son. For Croesus had two sons, one 
blasted by a natural defect, being deaf and 
dumb; the other, distinguished far above all 
his co-mates in every pursuit. The name of the 
last was Atys. It was this son concerning whom 
he dreamt a dream that he would die by the 
blow of an iron weapon. When he woke, he 
considered earnestly with himself, and, greatly 
alarmed at the dream, instantly made his son 
take a wife, and whereas in former years the 
youth had been wont to command the Lydian 
forces in the field, he now would not suffer 
him to accompany them. All the spears and 
javelins, and weapons used in the wars, he re- 
moved out of the male apartments, and laid 
them in heaps in the chambers of the women, 
fearing lest perhaps one of the weapons that 
hung against the wall might fall and strike 

35. Now it chanced that while he was mak- 
ing arrangements for the wedding, there came 
to Sardis a man under a misfortune, who had 
upon him the stain of blood. He was by race a 
Phrygian, and belonged to the family of the 
king. Presenting himself at the palace of Croe- 
sus, he prayed to be admitted to purification 
according to the customs of the country. Now 
the Lydian method of purifying is very nearly 
the same as the Greek. Croesus granted the re- 
quest, and went through all the customary 
rites, after which he asked the suppliant of his 
birth and country, addressing him as follows: 
"Who art thou, stranger, and from what part 
of Phrygia Reddest thou to take refuge at my 
hearth? And whom, moreover, what man or 
what woman, hast thou slain?" "Oh! king," 
replied the Phrygian, "I am the son of Gordias, 
son of Midas. I am named Adrastus. The man 
I unintentionally slew was my own brother. 

For this my father drove me from the land, 
and I lost all. Then fled I here to thee." "Thou 
art the offspring," Croesus rejoined, "of a house 
friendly to mine, and thou art come to friends. 
Thou shalt want for nothing so long as thou 
abidest in my dominions. Bear thy misfortune 
as easily as thou mayest, so will it go best with 
thee." Thenceforth Adrastus lived in the pal- 
ace of the king. 

36. It chanced that at this very same time 
there was in the Mysian Olympus a huge mon- 
ster of a boar, which went forth often from this 
mountain country, and wasted the corn-fields 
of the Mysians. Many a time had the Mysians 
collected to hunt the beast, but instead of doing 
him any hurt, they came off always with some 
loss to themselves. At length they sent ambas- 
sadors to Croesus, who delivered their message 
to him in these words: "Oh! king, a mighty 
monster of a boar has appeared in our parts, 
and destroys the labour of our hands. We do 
our best to take him, but in vain. Now there- 
fore we beseech thee to let thy son accompany 
us back, with some chosen youths and hounds, 
that we may rid our country of the animal." 
Such was the tenor of their prayer. 

But Croesus bethought him of his dream, and 
answered, "Say no more of my son going with 
you; that may not be in any wise. He is but just 
joined m wedlock, and is busy enough with 
that. I will grant you a picked band of Lydi- 
ans, and all my huntsmen and hounds; and I 
will charge those whom I send to use all zeal 
in aiding you to rid your country of the brute." 

37. With this reply the Mysians were con- 
tent; but the king's son, hearing what the 
prayer of the Mysians was, came suddenly in, 
and on the refusal of Croesus to let him go with 
them, thus addressed his father: "Formerly, 
my father, it was deemed the noblest and most 
suitable thing for me to frequent the wars and 
hunting-parties, and win myself glory in them; 
but now thou keepest me away from both, al- 
though thou hast never beheld in me either 
cowardice or lack of spirit. What face mean- 
while must I wear as I walk to the forum or 
return from it? What must the citizens, what 
must my young bride think of me? What sort 
of man will she suppose her husband to be? 
Either, therefore, let me go to the chase of this 
boar, or give me a reason why it is best for me 
to do according to thy wishes." 

38. Then Croesus answered, "My son, it is 
not because I have seen in thee either coward- 
ice or aught else which has displeased me 
that I keep thee back; but because a vision 


which came before me in a dream as I slept, 
warned me that thou wert doomed to die 
young, pierced by an iron weapon. It was this 
which first led me to hasten on thy wedding, 
and now it hinders me from sending thee upon 
this enterprise. Fain would I keep watch over 
thee, if by any means I may cheat fate of thee 
during my own lifetime. For thou art the one 
and only son that I possess; the other, whose 
hearing is destroyed, I regard as if he were 

39. "Ah! father," returned the youth, "I 
blame thee not for keeping watch over me after 
a dream so terrible; but if thou mistakest, if 
thou dost not apprehend the dream aright, 'tis 
no blame for me to show thee wherein thou 
errest. Now the dream, thou saidst thyself, 
foretold that I should die stricken by an iron 
weapon. But what hands has a boar to strike 
with? What iron weapon does he wield ? Yet 
this is what thou fearest for me. Had the 
dream said that I should die pierced by a tusk, 
then thou hadst done well to keep me away; 
but it said a weapon. Now here we do not com- 
bat men, but a wild animal. I pray thee, there- 
fore, let me go with them." 

40. "There thou hast me, my son," said 
Croesus, "thy interpretation is better than 
mine. I yield to it, and change my mind, and 
consent to let thee go." 

41. Then the king sent for Adrastus, the 
Phrygian, and said to him, "Adrastus, when 
thou wert smitten with the rod of affliction 
no reproach, my friend I purified thee, and 
have taken thee to live with me in my palace, 
and have been at every charge. Now, therefore, 
it behoves thee to requite the good offices 
which thou hast received at my hands by con- 
senting to go with my son on this hunting 
party, and to watch over him, if perchance you 
should be attacked upon the road by some band 
of daring robbers. Even apart from this, it 
were right for thee to go where thou mayest 
make thyself famous by noble deeds. They are 
the heritage of thy family, and thou too art so 
stalwart and strong." 

42. Adrastus answered, "Except for thy re- 
quest, Oh! king, I would rather have kept 
away from this hunt; for methinks it ill be- 
seems a man under a misfortune such as mine 
to consort with his happier compeers; and be- 
sides, I have no heart to it. On many grounds I 
had stayed behind; but, as thou urgest it, and I 
am bound to pleasure thee (for truly it does 
behove me to requite thy good offices), I am 
content to do as thou wishest. For thy son, 


whom thou givest into my charge, be sure 
thou shalt receive him back safe and sound, 
so far as depends upon a guardian's care- 

43. Thus assured, Croesus let them depart, 
accompanied by a band of picked youths, and 
well provided with dogs of chase. When they 
reached Olympus, they scattered in quest of 
the animal; he was soon found, and the hunters, 
drawing round him in a circle, hurled their 
weapons at him. Then the stranger, the man 
who had been purified of blood, whose name 
was Adrastus, he also hurled his spear at the 
boar, but missed his aim, and struck Atys. 
Thus was the son of Croesus slain by the point 
of an iron weapon, and the warning of the 
vision was fulfilled. Then one ran to Sardis to 
bear the tidings to the king, and he came and 
informed him of the combat and of the fate 
that had befallen his son. 

44. If it was a heavy blow to the father to 
learn that his child was dead, it yet more 
strongly affected him to think that the very 
man whom he himself once purified had clone 
the deed. In the violence of his grief he called 
aloud on Jupiter Catharsius to be a witness of 
what he had suffered at the stranger's hands. 
Afterwards he invoked the same god as Jupiter 
Ephistius and Hetarreus using the one term 
because he had unwittingly harboured in his 
house the man who had now slain his son; and 
the other, because the stranger, who had been 
sent as his child's guardian, had turned out his 
most cruel enemy. 

45. Presently the Lydians arrived, bearing 
the body of the youth, and behind them fol- 
lowed the homicide. He took his stand in front 
of the corse, and, stretching forth his hands to 
Croesus, delivered himself into his power with 
earnest entreaties that he would sacrifice him 
upon the body of his son "his former misfor- 
tune was burthen enough; now that he had 
added to it a second, and had brought ruin on 
the man who purified him, he could not bear 
to live." Then Croesus, when he heard these 
words, was moved with pity towards Adrastus, 
notwithstanding the bitterness of his own ca- 
lamity; and so he answered, "Enough, my 
friend; I have all the revenge that I require, 
since thou givest sentence of death against thy- 
self. But in sooth it is not thou who hast in- 
jured me, except so far as thou hast unwit- 
tingly dealt the blow. Some god is the author 
of my misfortune, and I was forewarned of it 
a long time ago." Crasus after this buried the 
body of his son, with such honours as befitted 



[ BOOK i 

the occasion. Adrastus* son of Gordias, son of 
Midas, the destroyer of his brother in time 
past, the destroyer now of his purifier, regard- 
ing himself as the most unfortunate wretch 
whom he had ever known, so soon as all was 
quiet about the place, slew himself upon the 
tomb. Croesus, bereft of his son, gave himself 
up to mourning for two full years. 

46. At the end of this time the grief of Croe- 
sus was interrupted by intelligence from 
abroad. He learnt that Cyrus, the son of Cam- 
by scs, had destroyed the empire of Astyages, 
the son of Cyaxares; and that the Persians were 
becoming daily more powerful. This led him 
to consider with himself whether it were possi- 
ble to check the growing power of that people 
before it came to a head. With this design he 
resolved to make instant trial of the several ora- 
cles in Greece, and ot the one in Libya. So he 
sent his messengers in different directions, 
some to Delphi, some to Abae in Phocis, and 
some to Dodona; others to the oracle of Am- 
phiaraus; others to that of Trophonius; others, 
again, to Branchidse in Milesia. These were the 
Greek oracles which he consulted. To Libya he 
sent another embassy, to consult the oracle of 
Ammon. These messengers were sent to test 
the knowledge of the oracles, that, if they were 
found really to return true answers, he might 
send a second time, and inquire if he ought to 
attack the Persians. 

47. The messengers who were despatched to 
make trial of the oracles were given the follow- 
ing instructions: they were to keep count of 
the days from the time of their leaving Sardis, 
and, reckoning from that date, on the hun- 
dredth day they were to consult the oracles, 
and to inquire of them what Croesus the son of 
Alyattes, king of Lydia, was doing at that mo- 
ment. The answers given them were to be 
taken down in writing, and brought back to 
him. None of the replies remain on record ex- 
cept that of the oracle at Delphi. There, the 
moment that the Lydians entered the sanctu- 
ary, and before they put their questions, the 
Pythoness thus answered them in hexameter 

/ cun count the sands, and I can measutc the 

1 have ears for the silent, and l(now what the 

dumb man mcaneth; 
Lo! on my sense there stn^eth the smell of a 

shell-covered tortoise, 
Boiling now on a fire, with the flesh of a lamb, 

in a cauldron 
Brass is the vessel below, and brass the cover 

above it. 

48. These words the Lydians wrote down at 
the mouth of the Pythoness as she prophesied, 
and then set off on their return to Sardis. 
When all the messengers had come back with 
the answers which they had received, Croesus 
undid the rolls, and read what was written in 
each. Only one approved itself to him, that of 
the Delphic oracle. This he had no sooner 
heard than he instantly made an act of adora- 
tion, and accepted it as true, declaring that the 
Delphic was the only really oracular shrine, the 
only one that had discovered in what way he 
was in fact employed. For on the departure of 
his messengers he had set himself to think what 
was most impossible for any one to conceive of 
his doing, and then, waiting till the day agreed 
on came, he acted as he had determined. He 
took a tortoise and a lamb, and cutting them 
in pieces with his own hands, boiled them both 
together in a brazen cauldron, covered over 
with a lid which was also of brass. 

49. Such then was the answer returned to 
Croesus from Delphi. What the answer was 
which the Lydians who went to the shrine of 
Amphiaraus and performed the customary 
rites obtained of the oracle there, I have it not 
in my power to mention, for there is no record 
of it. All that is known is that Croesus be- 
lieved himself to have found there also an ora- 
cle which spoke the truth. 

50. After this Croesus, having resolved to 
propitiate the Delphic god with a magnificent 
sacrifice, offered up three thousand of every 
kind of sacrificial beast, and besides made a 
huge pile, and placed upon it couches coated 
with silver and with gold, and golden goblets, 
and robes and vests of purple; all which he 
burnt in the hope of thereby making himself 
more secure of the favour of the god. Further 
he issued his orders to all the people of the land 
to offer a sacrifice according to their means. 
When the sacrifice was ended, the king melted 
down a vast quantity of gold, and ran it into 
ingots, making them six palms long, three 
palms broad, and one palm in thickness. The 
number of ingots was a hundred and seven- 
teen, four being of refined gold, in weight two 
talents and a half; the others of pale gold, and 
in weight two talents. He also caused a statue 
of a lion to be made in refined gold, the weight 
of which was ten talents. At the time when the 
temple of Delphi was burnt to the ground, this 
lion fell from the ingots on which it was 
placed; it now stands in the Corinthian treas- 
ury, and weighs only six talents and a half, 
having lost three talents and a half by the fire. 


5 1 . On the completion of these works Croe- 
sus sent them away to Delphi, and with them 
two bowls of an enormous size, one of gold, the 
other of silver, which used to stand, the latter 
upon the right, the former upon the left, as one 
entered the temple. They too were moved at 
the time of the fire; and now the golden one is 
in the Clazomenian treasury, and weighs eight 
talents and forty-two minae; the silver one 
stands in the corner of the ante-chapel, and 
holds six hundred amphorae. This is known 
because the Delphians fill it at the time of the 
Theophama. It is said by the Delphians to be a 
work of Theodore the Samian, and I think that 
they say true, for assuredly it is the work of no 
common artist. Cro?sus sent also four silver 
casks, which are in the Corinthian treasury, 
and two lustral vases, a golden and a silver one. 
On the former is inscribed the name of the 
Lacedemonians, and they claim it as a gift of 
theirs, but wrongly, since it was really given by 
Croesus. The inscription upon it was cut by a 
Delphian, who wished to pleasure the Lace- 
daemonians. His name is known to me, but I 
forbear to mention it. The boy, through whose 
hand the water runs, is (I confess) a Lacedae- 
monian gift, but they did not give either of the 
lustral vases. Besides these various offerings, 
Croesus sent to Delphi many others of less ac- 
count, among the rest a number of round silver 
basins. Also he dedicated a female figure in 
gold, three cubits high, which is said by the 
Delphians to be the statue of his baking- 
woman; and further, he presented the necklace 
and the girdles of his wife. 

52. These were the offerings sent by Croesus 
to Delphi. To the shrine of Amphiaraus, with 
whose valour and misfortune he was ac- 
quainted, he sent a shield entirely of gold, and 
a spear, also of solid gold, both head and shaft. 
They were still existing in my day at Thebes, 
laid up in the temple of Ismenian Apollo. 

53. The messengers who had the charge of 
conveying these treasures to the shrines, re- 
ceived instructions to ask the oracles whether 
Croesus should go to war with the Persians, 
and if so, whether he should strengthen him- 
self by the forces of an ally. Accordingly, when 
they had reached their destinations and pre- 
sented the gifts, they proceeded to consult the 
oracles in the following terms: "Croesus, 
king of Lydia and other countries, believing 
that these are the only real oracles in all the 
world, has sent you such presents as your dis- 
coveries deserved, and now inquires of you 
whether he shall go to war with the Persians, 



and if so, whether he shall strengthen himself 
by the forces of a confederate." Both the ora- 
cles agreed in the tenor of their reply, which 
was in each case a prophecy that if Croesus at- 
tacked the Persians, he would destroy a mighty 
empire, and a recommendation to him to look 
and see who were the most powerful of the 
Greeks, and to make alliance with them. 

54. At the receipt of these oracular replies 
Croesus was overjoyed, and feeling sure now 
that he would destroy the empire of the Per- 
sians, he sent once more to Pytho, and present- 
ed to the Delphians, the number of whom he 
had ascertained, two gold staters apiece. In re- 
turn for this the Delphians granted to Croesus 
and the Lydians the privilege of precedency in 
consulting the oracle, exemption from all 
charges, the most honourable seat at the festi- 
vals, and the perpetual right of becoming at 
pleasure citizens of their town. 

55. After sending these presents to the Del- 
phians, Croesus a third time consulted the ora- 
cle, for having once proved its truthfulness, he 
wished to make constant use of it. The ques- 
tion whereto he now desired an answer was 
"Whether his kingdom would be of long dura- 
tion?" The following was the reply of the 

Wait till the time shall come when a mule is 

monarch of Media, 
Then, thou delicate Lydian, away to the pebbles 

of Hermus, 
Haste, oh I haste thec away t nor blush to behave 

lit(e a coward. 

56. Of all the answers that had reached him, 
this pleased him far the best, for it seemed in- 
credible that a mule should ever come to be 
king of the Mcdes, and so he concluded that 
the sovereignty would never depart from him- 
self or his seed after him. Afterwards he turned 
his thoughts to the alliance which he had been 
recommended to contract, and sought to ascer- 
tain by inquiry which was the most powerful 
of the Grecian states. His inquiries pointed out 
to him two states as pre-eminent above the rest. 
These were the Lacedaemonians and the Athe- 
nians, the former of Doric, the latter of Ionic 
blood. And indeed these two nations had held 
from very early times the most distinguished 
place in Greece, the one being a Pelasgic, the 
other a Hellenic people, and the one having 
never quitted its original seats, while the other 
had been excessively migratory; for during the 
reign of Deucalion, Phthiotis was the country 
in which the Hellenes dwelt, but under Dorus, 



f BOOR i 

the son of Hellcn, they moved to the tract at 
the base of Ossa and Olympus, which is called 
Histixotis; forced to retire from that region by 
the Cadmeians, 1 they settled, under the name of 
Macedni, in the chain of Pindus. Hence they 
once more removed and came to Dryopis; and 
from Dryopis having entered the Peloponnese 
in this way, they became known as Dorians. 

57. What the language of the Pelasgi was I 
cannot say with any certainty. If, however, we 
may form a conjecture from the tongue spoken 
by the Pelasgi of the present day those, for 
instance, who live at Creston above the Tyrr- 
henians, who formerly dwelt in the district 
named Thessaliotis, and were neighbours of 
the people now called the Dorians or those 
again who founded Placia and Scylacd upon 
the Hellespont, who had previously dwelt for 
some time with the Athenians or those, in 
short, of any other of the cities which have 
dropped the name but are in fact Pelasgian; if, 
I say, we are to form a conjecture from any of 
these, we must pronounce that the Pelasgi 
spoke a barbarous language. If this were really 
so, and the entire Pelasgic race spoke the same 
tongue, the Athenians, who were certainly Pe- 
lasgi, must have changed their language at the 
same time that they passed into the Hellenic 
body; for it is a certain fact that the people of 
Creston speak a language unlike any of their 
neighbours, and the same is true ot the Placi- 
anians, while the language spoken by these two 
people is the same; which shows that they both 
retain the idiom which they brought with 
them into the countries where they are now 

58. The Hellenic race has never, since its 
first origin, changed its speech. This at least 
seems evident to me. It was a branch of the 
Pelasgic, which separated from the main body, 
and at first was scanty in numbers and of little 
power; but it gradually spread and increased to 
a multitude of nations, chiefly by the voluntary 
entrance into its ranks of numerous tribes of 
barbarians. The Pelasgi, on the other hand, 
were, as I think, a barbarian race which never 
greatly multiplied. 

59. On inquiring into the condition of these 
two nations, Croesus found that one, the Athe- 
nian, was in a state of grievous oppression and 
distraction under Pisistratus, the son of Hippo- 
crates, who was at that time tyrant of Athens. 

1 The race (their name merely signifying "the 
Easterns' 1 ) who, in the ante-Trojan times, occu- 
pied the country which was afterwards called 

Hippocrates, when he was a private citizen, is 
said to have gone once upon a time to Olympia 
to see the Games, when a wonderful prodigy 
happened to him. As he was employed in sacri- 
ficing, the cauldrons which stood near, full of 
water and of the flesh of the victims, began to 
boil without the help of fire, so that the water 
overflowed the pots. Chilon the Lacedaemoni- 
an, who happened to be there and to witness 
the prodigy, advised Hippocrates, if he were 
unmarried, never to take into his house a wife 
who could bear him a child; if he already had 
one, to send her back to her friends; if he had 
a son, to disown him. Chilon's advice did not 
at all please Hippocrates, who disregarded it, 
and some time after became the father of Pisis- 
tratus. This Pisistratus, at a time when there 
was civil contention in Attica between the par- 
ty of the Sea-coast headed by Megacles the son 
of Alcmaeon, and that of the Plain headed by 
Lycurgus, one of the Anstolaids, formed the 
project of making himself tyrant, and with this 
view created a third party. Gathering together 
a band of partisans, and giving himself out for 
the protector of the Highlanders, he contrived 
the following stratagem. He wounded himself 
and his mules, and then drove his chariot into 
the market-place, professing to have just es- 
caped an attack of his enemies, who had at- 
tempted his life as he was on his way into the 
country. He besought the people to assign him 
a guard to protect his person, reminding them 
of the glory which he had gained when he led 
the attack upon the Megarians, and took the 
town of Nisxa, at the same time performing 
many other exploits. The Athenians, deceived 
by his story, appointed him a band of citizens 
to serve as a guard, who were to carry clubs in- 
stead of spears, and to accompany him wher- 
ever he went. Thus strengthened, Pisistratus 
broke into revolt and seized the citadel. In this 
way he acquired the sovereignty of Athens, 
which he continued to hold without disturbing 
the previously existing offices or altering any of 
the laws. He administered the state according 
to the established usages, and his arrangements 
were wise and salutary. 

60. However, after a little time, the partisans 
of Megacles and those of Lycurgus agreed to 
forget their differences, and united to drive 
him out. So Pisistratus, having by the means 
described first made himself master of Athens, 
lost his power again before it had time to take 
root. No sooner, however, was he departed 
than the factions which had driven him out 
quarrelled anew, and at last Megacles, wearied 


with the struggle, sent a herald to Pisistratus, 
with an offer to re-establish him on the throne 
if he would marry his daughter. Pisistratus 
consented, and on these terms an agreement 
was concluded between the two, after which 
they proceeded to devise the mode of his resto- 
ration. And here the device on which they hit 
was the silliest that I find on record, more es- 
pecially considering that the Greeks have been 
from very ancient times distinguished from the 
barbarians by superior sagacity and freedom 
from foolish simpleness, and remembering 
that the persons &i whom this trick was played 
were not only Greeks but Athenians, who have 
the credit of surpassing all other Greeks in 
cleverness. There was in the Paeanian district a 
woman named Phya, whose height only fell 
short of four cubits by three fingers' breadth, 
and who was altogether comely to look upon. 
This woman they clothed in complete armour, 
and, instructing her as to the carriage which 
she was to maintain in order to beseem her 
part, they placed her in a chariot and drove to 
the city. Heralds had been sent forward to pre- 
cede her, and to make proclamation to this ef- 
fect: "Citizens of Athens, receive again Pisis- 
tratus with friendly minds. Minerva, who of all 
men honours him the most, herself conducts 
him back to her own citadel." This they pro- 
claimed in all directions, and immediately the 
rumour spread throughout the country dis- 
tricts that Minerva was bringing back her fa- 
vourite. They of the city also, fully persuaded 
that the woman was the veritable goddess, 
prostrated themselves before her, and received 
Pisistratus back. 

61. Pisistratus, having thus recovered the 
sovereignty, married, according to agreement, 
the daughter of Megacles. As, however, he had 
already a family of grown up sons, and the 
Alcmaronidae were supposed to be under a 
curse, he determined that there should be no 
issue of the marriage. His wife at first kept this 
matter to herself, but after a time, either her 
mother questioned her, or it may be that she 
told it of her own accord. At any rate, she in- 
formed her mother, and so it reached her fa- 
ther's ears. Megacles, indignant at receiving an 
affront from such a quarter, in his anger in- 
stantly made up his differences with the oppo- 
site faction, on which Pisistratus, aware of 
what was planning against him, took himself 
out of the country. Arrived at Eretria, he held 
a council with his children to decide what was 
to be done. The opinion of Hippias prevailed, 
and it was agreed to aim at regaining the sov- 



ereignty. The first step was to obtain advances 
of money from such states as were under obli- 
gations to them. By these means they collected 
large sums from several countries, especially 
from the Thebans, who gave them far more 
than any of the rest. To be brief, time passed, 
and all was at length got ready for their return. 
A band of Argive mercenaries arrived from the 
Peloponnese, and a certain Naxian named 
Lygdamis, who volunteered his services, was 
particularly zealous in the cause, supplying 
both men and money. 

62. In the eleventh year of their exile the 
family of Pisistratus set sail from Eretria on 
their return home. They made the coast of At- 
tica, near Marathon, where they encamped, 
and were joined by their partisans from the 
capital and by numbers from the country dis- 
tricts, who loved tyranny better than freedom. 
At Athens, while Pisistratus was obtaining 
funds, and even after he landed at Marathon, 
no one paid any attention to his proceedings. 
When, however, it became known that he had 
left Marathon, and was marching upon the 
city, preparations were made for resistance, the 
whole force of the state was levied, and led 
against the returning exiles. Meantime the 
army of Pisistratus, which had broken up from 
Marathon, meeting their adversaries near the 
temple of the Palienian Minerva, pitched their 
camp opposite them. Here a certain soothsayer, 
Amphilytus by name, an Acarnanian, moved 
by a divine impulse, came into the presence of 
Pisistratus, and approaching him uttered thi> 
prophecy in the hexameter measure: 

Now has the cast been made, the net is out-spread 

in the water, 
Through the moonshiny night the tunnies will 

enter the meshes. 

63. Such was the prophecy uttered under a 
divine inspiration. Pisistratus, apprehending 
its meaning, declared that he accepted the ora- 
cle, and instantly led on his army. The Athe- 
nians from the city had just finished their mid- 
day meal, after which they had betaken them- 
selves, some to dice, others to sleep, when Pisis- 
tratus with his troops fell upon them and put 
them to the rout. As soon as the flight began, 
Pisistratus bethought himself of a most wise 
contrivance, whereby the Athenians might be 
induced to disperse and not unite in a body any 
more. He mounted his sons on horseback and 
sent them on in front to overtake the fugitives, 
and exhort them to be of good cheer, and re- 
turn each man to his home. The Athenians 



[ BOOK i 

took the advice, and Pisistratus became for the 
third time master of Athens. 

64. Upon this he set himself to root his 
power more firmly, by the aid of a numerous 
body of mercenaries, and by keeping up a full 
exchequer, partly supplied from native sources, 
partly from the countries about the river Stry- 
mon. He also demanded hostages from many 
of the Athenians who had remained at home, 
and not left Athens at his approach; and these 
he sent to Naxos, which he had conquered by 
force of arms, and given over into the charge of 
Lygdamis. Farther, he purified the island of 
Delos, according to the injunctions of an ora- 
cle, after the following fashion. All the dead 
bodies which had been interred within sight of 
the temple he dug up, and removed to another 
part of the isle. Thus was the tyranny of Pisis- 
tratus established at Athens, many of the Athe- 
nians having fallen in the battle, and many 
others having fled the country together with 
the son of Alcmeon. 

65. Such was the condition of the Athenians 
when Croesus made inquiry concerning them. 
Proceeding to seek information concerning the 
Lacedemonians, he learnt that, after passing 
through a period of great depression, they had 
lately been victorious in a war with the people 
ot Tegea; for, during the joint reign of Leo and 
Agasicles, kings of Sparta, the Lacedemon- 
ians, successful in all their other wars, suffered 
continual defeat at the hands of the Tegeans. 
At a still earlier period they had been the very 
worst governed people in Greece, as well in 
matters of internal management as in their re- 
lations towards foreigners, from whom they 
kept entirely aloof. The circumstances which 
led to their being well governed were the fol- 
lowing: Lycurgus, a man of distinction 
among the Spartans, had gone to Delphi, to 
visit the oracle. Scarcely had he entered into 
the inner fane, when the Pythoness exclaimed 

Oh 1 thou great Lycurgus, that com'st to my 

heautijul dwelling, 
Dear to fore, and to all who sit in the halls 

of Olympus, 
Whether to hail thee a god I t^now not. ot only 

a mortal, 
But my hope is strong that a god thou wilt 

prove, Lycurgus. 

Some report besides, that the Pythoness de- 
livered to him the entire system of laws which 
are still observed by the Spartans. The Lace- 
demonians, however, themselves assert that Ly- 

curgus, when he was guardian of his nephew, 
Labotas, king of Sparta, and regent in his 
room, introduced them from Crete; for as soon 
as he became regent, he altered the whole of 
the existing customs, substituting new ones, 
which he took care should be observed by all. 
After this he arranged whatever appertained 
to war, establishing the Enomotie, Triacades, 
and Syssitia, besides which he instituted the 
senate, 1 and the ephoralty. Such was the way 
in which the Lacedemonians became a well- 
governed people. 

66. On the death of Lycurf us they built him 
a temple, and ever since they have worshipped 
him with the utmost reverence. Their soil be- 
ing good and the population numerous, they 
sprang up rapidly to power, and became a 
flourishing people. In consequence they soon 
ceased to be satisfied to stay quiet; and, regard- 
ing the Arcadians as very much their inferiors, 
they sent to consult the oracle about conquer- 
ing the whole of Arcadia. The Pythoness thus 
answered them: 

Ctavest thou Atcady? Bold is thy ciating. I shall 

not content it. 
Many the men that in Arcady dwell, whose food 

is the acorn 
They will nevet allow thee. It is not I that am 

1 will give thee to dance in Tegea, with noisy 

And with the measunng line mete out the glon- 

ous champaign. 

When the Lacedemonians received this reply, 
leaving the rest of Arcadia untouched, they 
marched against the Tegeans, carrying with 
them fetters, so confident had this oracle 
(which was, in truth, but of base metal) made 
them that they would enslave the Tegeans. 
The battle, However, went against them, and 
many fell into the enemy's hands. Then these 
persons, wearing the fetters which they had 
themselves brought, and fastened together in a 
string, measured the Tegean plain as they exe- 
cuted their labours. The fetters in which they 
worked were still, in my day, preserved at 
Tegea where they hung round the walls of the 
temple of Minerva Alea. 

67. Throughout the whole of this early con- 
test with the Tegeans, the Lacedemonians met 
with nothing but defeats; but in the time of 

1 It is quite inconceivable that Lycurgus should 
in any sense have instituted the senate. Lycurgus 
appears to have made scarcely any changes in the 
constitution. What he did was to alter the cus- 
toms and habits of the people. 



Croesus, under the kings Anaxand rides and 
Aristo, fortune had turned in their favour, in 
the manner which I will now relate. Having 
been worsted in every engagement by their 
enemy, they sent to Delphi, and inquired of 
the oracle what god they must propitiate to pre- 
vail in the war against the Tegeans. The an- 
swer of the Pythoness was that before they 
could prevail, they must remove to Sparta the 
bones of Orestes, the son of Agamemnon. Un- 
able to discover his burial-place, they sent a 
second time, and asked the god where the body 
of the hero had been laid. The following was 
the answer they received: 

Le vel and smooth is the plain where Arcadian 

Tegea standcth; 
There two winds are ever, by strong necessity, 

Counter-strode answers strode, and evil lies upon 

There all-teeming Earth doth harbour the son of 

Bring thou him to thy city, and then be Tegea 9 s 


After this reply, the Lacedemonians were no 
nearer discovering the burial-place than before, 
though they continued to search for it dili- 
gently; until at last a man named Lichas, one 
of the Spartans called Agathoergi, found it. 
The Agathoergi are citizens who have just 
served their time among the knights. The five 
eldest of the knights go out every year, and are 
bound during the year after their discharge to 
go wherever the State sends them, and actively 
employ themselves in its service. 

68. Lichas was one of this body when, partly 
by good luck, partly by his own wisdom, he 
discovered the burial-place. Intercourse be- 
tween the two States existing just at this time, 
he went to Tegea, and, happening to enter into 
the workshop of a smith, he saw him forging 
some iron. As he stood marvelling at what 
he beheld, 1 he was observed by the smith 
who, leaving off his work, went up to him 
and said, 

"Certainly, then, you Spartan stranger, you 
would have been wonderfully surprised if you 
had seen what I have, since you make a marvel 
even of the working in iron. I wanted to make 
myself a well in this room, and began to dig it, 
when what think you? I came upon a coffin 
seven cubits long. I had never believed that 
men were taller in the olden times than they 
are now, so I opened the coffin. The body inside 

1 Herodotus means to represent that the forging 
of iron was a novelty at the time. 

was of the same length: I measured it, and 
filled up the hole again." 

Such was the man's account of what he had 
seen. The other, on turning the matter over in 
his mind, conjectured that this was the body 
of Orestes, of which the oracle had spoken. He 
guessed so, because he observed that the smithy 
had two bellows, which he understood to be 
the two winds, and the hammer and anvil 
would do for the stroke and the counterstroke, 
and the iron that was being wrought for the 
evil lying upon evil. This he imagined might 
be so because iron had been discovered to the 
hurt of man. Full of these conjectures, he sped 
back to Sparta and laid the whole matter be- 
fore his countrymen. Soon after, by a concerted 
plan, they brought a charge against him, and 
began a prosecution. Lichas betook himself to 
Tegea, and on his arrival acquainted the smith 
with his misfortune, and proposed to rent his 
room of him. The smith refused for some 
time; but at last Lichas persuaded him, and 
took up his abode in it. Then he opened the 
grave, and collecting the bones, returned with 
them to Sparta. From henceforth, whenever 
the Spartans and the Tegeans made trial of 
each other's skill in arms, the Spartans always 
had greatly the advantage; and by the time to 
which we are now come they were masters of 
most of the Peloponncse. 

69. Croesus, informed of all these circum- 
stances, sent messengers to Sparta, with gifts 
in their hands, who were to ask the Spartans 
to enter into alliance with him. They received 
strict injunctions as to what they should say, 
and on their arrival at Sparta spake as fol- 

"Croesus, king of the Lydians and of other 
nations, has sent us to speak thus to you: 'Oh! 
Lacedaemonians, the god has bidden me to 
make the Greek my friend; I therefore apply to 
you, in conformity with the oracle, knowing 
that you hold the first rank in Greece, and de- 
sire to become your friend and ally in all true 
faith and honesty/ " 

Such was the message which Croesus sent by 
his heralds. The Lacedaemonians, who were 
aware beforehand of the reply given him by the 
oracle, were full of joy at the coming of the 
messengers, and at once took the oaths of 
friendship and alliance: this they did the more 
readily as they had previously contracted cer- 
tain obligations towards him. They had sent 
to Sardis on one occasion to purchase some 
gold, intending to use it on a statue of Apollo 
the statue, namely, which remains to this 



[ BOOK i 

day at Thornax in Laconia, when Croesus, 
hearing of the matter, gave them as a gift the 
gold which they wanted. 

70. This was one reason why the Lacedae- 
monians were so willing to make the alliance: 
another was, because Croesus had chosen them 
for his friends in preference to all the other 
Greeks. They therefore held themselves in 
readiness to come at his summons, and not con- 
tent with so doing, they further had a huge 
vase made in bronze, covered with figures of 
animals all round the outside of the rim, and 
large enough to contain three hundred am- 
phora:, which they sent to Croesus as a return 
for his presents to them. The vase, however, 
never reached Sardis. Its miscarriage is ac- 
counted for in two quite different ways. The 
Lacedaemonian story is that when it reached 
Samos, on its way towards Sardis, the Samians 
having knowledge of it, put to sea in their 
ships of war and made it their prize. But the 
Samians declare that the Lacedarmonians who 
had the vase in charge, happening to arrive too 
late, and learning that Sardis had fallen and 
that Croesus was a prisoner, sold it in their 
island, and the purchasers (who were, they say, 
private persons) made an offering of it at the 
shrine of Juno: the sellers were very likely on 
their return to Sparta to have said that they 
had been robbed of it by the Samians. Such, 
then, was the fate of the vase. 

71. Meanwhile Croesus, taking the oracle in 
a wrong sense, led his forces into Cappadocia, 
fully expecting to defeat Cyrus and destroy the 
empire of the Persians. While he was still en- 
gaged in making preparations for his attack, 
a Lydian named Sandanis, who had always 
been looked upon as a wise man, but who after 
this obtained a very great name indeed among 
his countrymen, came forward and counselled 
the king in these words: 

"Thou art about, oh! king, to make war 
against men who wear leathern trousers, and 
have all their other garments of leather; who 
feed not on what they like, but on what they 
can get from a soil that is sterile and unkindly; 
who do not indulge in wine, but drink water; 
who possess no figs nor anything else that is 
good to eat. If, then, thou conquerest them, 
what canst thou get from them, seeing that 
they have nothing at all? But if they conquer 
thee, consider how much that is precious thou 
wilt lose: if they once get a taste of our pleasant 
things, they will keep such hold of them that 
we shall never be able to make them loose their 
grasp. For my part, I am thankful to the gods 

that they have not put it into the hearts of the 
Persians to invade Lydia." 

Croesus was not persuaded by this speech, 
though it was true enough; for before the con- 
quest of Lydia, the Persians possessed none of 
the luxuries or delights of life. 

72. The Cappadocians are known to the 
Greeks by the name of Syrians. Before the rise 
of the Persian power, they had been subject to 
the Medes; but at the present time they were 
within the empire of Cyrus, for the boundary 
between the Median and the Lydian empires 
was the river Halys. This stream, which rises 
in the mountain country of Armenia, runs 
first through Cilicia; afterwards it flows for a 
while with the Matieni on the right, and the 
Phrygians on the left: then, when they are 
passed, it proceeds with a northern course, sep- 
arating the Cappadocian Syrians from the 
Paphlagonians, who occupy the left bank, thus 
forming the boundary of almost the whole of 
Lower Asia, from the sea opposite Cyprus to 
the Euxine. Just there is the neck of the penin- 
sula, a journey of five days across for an active 

73. There were two motives which led Croe- 
sus to attack Cappadocia: firstly, he coveted 
the land, which he wished to add to his own 
dominions; but the chief reason was that he 
wanted to revenge on Cyrus the wrongs of 
Astyages, and was made confident by the ora- 
cle of being able so to do: for Astyages, son 
of Cyaxares and king of the Medes, who had 
been dethroned by Cyrus, son of Cambyses, 
was Croesus* brother by marriage. This mar- 
riage had taken place under circumstances 
which I will now relate. A band of Scythian 
nomads, who had left their own land on occa- 
sion of some disturbance, had taken refuge in 
Media. Cyaxares, son of Phraortes, and grand- 
son of Deioces, was at that time king of the 
country. Recognising them as suppliants, he 
began by treating them with kindness, and 
coming presently to esteem them highly, he in- 
trusted to their care a number of boys, whom 
they were to teach their language and to in- 
struct in the use of the bow. Time passed, and 
the Scythians employed themselves, day after 
day, in hunting, and always brought home 
some game; but at last it chanced that one day 
they took nothing. On their return to Cyaxares 
with empty hands, that monarch, who was 
hot-tempered, as he showed upon the occasion, 
received them very rudely and insultingly. In 
consequence of this treatment, which they did 
not conceive themselves to have deserved, the 


Scythians determined to take one of the boys 
whom they had in charge, cut him in pieces, 
and then dressing the flesh as they were wont 
to dress that of the wild animals, serve it up to 
Cyaxares as game: after which they resolved to 
convey themselves with all speed to Sardis, to 
the court of Alyattes, the son of Sadyattes. The 
plan was carried out: Cyaxares and his guests 
ate of the flesh prepared by the Scythians, and 
they themselves, having accomplished their 
purpose, fled to Alyattes in the guise of suppli- 

74. Afterwards, on the refusal of Alyattes to 
give up his suppliants when Cyaxares sent to 
demand them of him, war broke out between 
the Lydians and the Medes, and continued for 
five years, with various success. In the course 
of it the Medes gained many victories over the 
Lydians, and the Lydians also gained many 
victories over the Medes. Among their other 
battles there was one night engagement. As, 
however, the balance had not inclined in fa- 
vour of either nation, another combat took 
place in the sixth year, in the course of which, 
just as the battle was growing warm, day was 
on a sudden changed into night. This event 
had been foretold by Thales, the Milesian, who 
forewarned the lonians of it, fixing for it the 
very year in which it actually took place. The 
Medes and Lydians, when they observed the 
change, ceased fighting, and were alike anx- 
ious to have terms of peace agreed on. Syen- 
nesis of Cilicia, and Labynetus of Babylon, 
were the persons who mediated between the 
parties, who hastened the taking of the oaths, 
and brought about the exchange of espousals. 
It was they who advised that Alyattes should 
give his daughter Aryenis in marriage to Asty- 
ages, the son of Cyaxares, knowing, as they 
did, that without some sure bond of strong ne- 
cessity, there is wont to be but little security in 
men's covenants. Oaths are taken by these peo- 
ple in the same way as by the Greeks, except 
that they make a slight flesh wound in their 
arms, from which each sucks a portion of the 
other's blood. 

75. Cyrus had captured this Astyages, who 
was his mother's father, and kept him prison- 
er, for a reason which I shall bring forward in 
another part of my history. This capture 
formed the ground of quarrel between Cyrus 
and Croesus, in consequence of which Croesus 
sent his servants to ask the oracle if he should 
attack the Persians; and when an evasive an- 
swer came, fancying it to be in his favour, car- 
ried his arms into the Persian territory. When 



he reached the river Halys, he transported his 
army across it, as I maintain, by the bridges 
which exist there at the present day; but, ac- 
cording to the general belief of the Greeks, by 
the aid of Thales the Milesian. The tale is that 
Croesus was in doubt how he should get his 
army across, as the bridges were not made at 
that time, and that Thales, who happened to 
be in the camp, divided the stream and caused 
it to flow on both sides of the army instead of 
on the left only. This he effected thus: Begin- 
ning some distance above the camp, he dug a 
deep channel, which he brought round in a 
semicircle, so that it might pass to rearward of 
the camp; and that thus the river, diverted 
from its natural course into the new channel at 
the point where this left the stream, might flow 
by the station of the army, and afterwards fall 
again into the ancient bed. In this way the 
river was split into two streams, which were 
both easily fordable. It is said by some that the 
water was entirely drained off from the natural 
bed of the river. But I am of a different opin- 
ion; for I do not see how, in that case, they 
could have crossed it on their return. 

76. Having passed the Halys with the forces 
under his command, Croesus entered the dis- 
trict of Cappadocia which is called Ptena. It 
lies in the neighbourhood of the city of Sinope' 
upon the Euxine, and is the strongest position 
in the whole country thereabouts. Here Croe- 
sus pitched his camp, and began to ravage the 
fields of the Syrians. He besieged and took the 
chief city of the Pterians, and reduced the in- 
habitants to slavery: he likewise made himself 
master of the surrounding villages. Thus he 
brought ruin on the Syrians, who were guilty 
of no offence towards him. Meanwhile, Cyrus 
had levied an army and marched against Croe- 
sus, increasing his numbers at every step by 
the forces of the nations that lay in his way. 
Before beginning his march he had sent her- 
alds to the lonians, with an invitation to them 
to revolt from the Lydian king: they, however, 
had refused compliance. Cyrus, notwithstand- 
ing, marched against the enemy, and en- 
camped opposite them in the district of Pteria, 
where the trial of strength took place between 
the contending powers. The combat was hot 
and bloody, and upon both sides the number 
of the slain was great; nor had victory declared 
in favour of either party, when night came 
down upon the battle-field. Thus both armies 
fought valiantly. 

77. Croesus laid the blame of his ill success 
on the number of his troops, which fell very 



[BOOK i 

short of the enemy; and as on the next day Cy- 
rus did not repeat the attack, he set off on his 
return to Sardis, intending to collect his allies 
and renew the contest in the spring. He meant 
to call on the Egyptians to send him aid, ac- 
cording to the terms of the alliance which he 
had concluded with Amasis, previously to his 
league with the Lacedemonians. He intended 
also to summon to his assistance the Baby- 
lonians, under their king Labynetus, for they 
too were bound to him by treaty: and further, 
he meant to send word to Sparta, and appoint 
a day for the coming of their succours. Hav- 
ing got together these forces in addition to his 
own, he would, as soon as the winter was past 
and springtime come, march once more 
against the Persians. With these intentions 
Croesus, immediately on his return, despatched 
heralds to his various allies, with a request that 
they would join him at Sardis in the course of 
the fifth month from the time of the departure 
of his messengers. He then disbanded the army 
consisting of mercenary troops which had 
been engaged with the Persians and had since 
accompanied him to his capital, and let them 
depart to their homes, never imagining that 
Cyrus, after a battle in which victory had been 
so evenly balanced, would venture to march 
upon Sardis. 

78. While Croesus was still in this mind, all 
the suburbs of Sardis were found to swarm 
with snakes, on the appearance ot which the 
horses left feeding in the pasture-grounds, and 
flocked to the suburbs to eat them. The king, 
who witnessed the unusual sight, regarded it 
very rightly as a prodigy. He therefore in- 
stantly sent messengers to the soothsayers of 
Telmessus, to consult them upon the matter. 
His messengers reached the city, and obtained 
from the Telmessians an explanation of what 
the prodigy portended, but tate did not allow 
them to inionn their lord; for ere they entered 
Sardis on their return, Croesus was a prisoner. 
What the Telmessians had declared was that 
Croesus must look for the entry of an army of 
foreign invaders into his country, and that 
when they came they would subdue the native 
inhabitants; since the snake, said they, is a 
child of earth, and the horse a warrior and a 
foreigner. Croesus was already a prisoner when 
the Telmessians thus answered his inquiry, 
but they had no knowledge of what was taking 
place at Sardis, or of the fate of the monarch. 

79. Cyrus, however, when Croesus broke up 
so suddenly from his quarters after the battle 
at Pteria, conceiving that he had marched 

away with the intention of disbanding his 
army, considered a little, and soon saw that it 
was advisable for him to advance upon Sardis 
with all haste, before the Lydians could get 
their forces together a second time. Having 
thus determined, he lost no time in carrying 
out his plan. He marched forward with such 
speed that he was himself the first to announce 
his coming to the Lydian king. That monarch, 
placed in the utmost difficulty by the turn of 
events which had gone so entirely against all 
his calculations, nevertheless led out the Lydi- 
ans to battle. In all Asia there was not at that 
time a braver or more warlike people. Their 
manner of fighting was on horseback; they car- 
ried long lances, and were clever in the man- 
agement of their steeds. 

80. The two armies met in the plain before 
Sardis. It is a vast flat, bare of trees, watered 
by the Hyllus and a number of other streams, 
which all flow into one larger than the rest, 
called the Hcrmus. This river rises in the sa- 
cred mountain of the Dindymenian Mother, 
and falls into the sea near the town of Phocaea. 

When Cyrus beheld the Lydians arranging 
themselves in order of battle on this plain, 
fearful of the strength of their cavalry, he 
adopted a device which Harpagus, one of the 
Medes, suggested to him. He collected together 
all the camels that had come in the train of his 
army to carry the provisions and the baggage, 
and taking off their loads, he mounted riders 
upon them accoutred as horsemen. These he 
commanded to advance in front of his other 
troops against the Lydian horse; behind them 
were to follow the foot soldiers, and last of all 
the cavalry. When his arrangements were com- 
plete, he gave his troops orders to slay all the 
other Lydians who came in their way without 
mercy, but to spare Croesus and not kill him, 
even if he should be seized and offer resistance. 
The reason why Cyrus opposed his camels to 
the enemy's horse was because the horse has a 
natural dread of the camel, and cannot abide 
either the sight or the smell of that animal. By 
this stratagem he hoped to make Croesus's 
horse useless to him, the horse being what he 
chiefly depended on for victory. The two ar- 
mies then joined battle, and immediately the 
Lydian war-horses, seeing and smelling the 
camels, turned round and galloped off; and so 
it came to pass that all Croesus's hopes with- 
ered away. The Lydians, however, behaved 
manfully. As soon as they understood what 
was happening, they leaped off their horses, 
and engaged with the Persians on foot. The 

7-8 4 ] 



combat was long; but at last, after a great 
slaughter on both sides, the Lydians turned 
and fled. They were driven within their walls, 
and the Persians laid siege to Sardis. 

81. Thus the siege began. Meanwhile Croe- 
sus, thinking that the place would hold out no 
inconsiderable time, sent off fresh heralds to 
his allies from the beleaguered town. His for- 
mer messengers had been charged to bid them 
assemble at Sardis in the course of the fifth 
month; they whom he now sent were to say 
that he was already besieged, and to beseech 
them to come to his aid with all possible speed. 
Among his other allies Croesus did not omit to 
send to Lacedaemon. 

82. It chanced, however, that the Spartans 
were themselves just at this time engaged in a 
quarrel with the Argives about a place called 
Thyrea, which was within the limits of Argo- 
lis, but had been seized on by the Lacedae- 
monians. Indeed, the whole country westward, 
as far as Cape Malca, belonged once to the 
Argives, and not only that entire tract upon 
the mainland, but also Cythera, and the other 
islands. The Argives collected troops to resist 
the seizure of Thyrea, but before any battle 
was fought, the two parties came to terms, and 
it was agreed that three hundred Spartans and 
three hundred Argives should meet and fight 
for the place, which should belong to the na- 
tion with whom the victory rested. It was stip- 
ulated also that the other troops on each side 
should return home to their respective coun- 
tries, and not remain to witness the combat, as 
there was danger, if the armies stayed, that 
cither the one or the other, on seeing their 
countrymen undergoing defeat, might hasten 
to their assistance. These terms being agreed 
on, the two armies marched off, leaving three 
hundred picked men on each side to fight for 
the territory. The battle began, and so equal 
were the combatants, that at the close of the 
day, when night put a stop to the fight, of the 
whole six hundred only three men remained 
alive, two Argives, Alcanor and Chromius, 
and a single Spartan, Othryadas. The two Ar- 
gives, regarding themselves as the victors, hur- 
ried to Argos. Othryadas, the Spartan, re- 
mained upon the field, and, stripping the bod- 
ies of the Argives who had fallen, carried their 
armour to the Spartan camp. Next day the two 
armies returned to learn the result. At first 
they disputed, both parties claiming the vic- 
tory, the one, because they had the greater 
number of survivors; the other, because their 
man remained on the field, and stripped the 

bodies of the slain, whereas the two men of 
the other side ran away; but at last they fell 
from words to blows, and a battle was fought, 
in which both parties suffered great loss, but 
at the end the Lacedaemonians gained the vic- 
tory. Upon this the Argives, who up to that 
time had worn their hair long, cut it off 
close, and made a law, to which they attached 
a curse, binding themselves never more to 
let their hair grow, and never to allow their 
women to wear gold, until they should recover 
Thyrea. At the same time the Lacedemonians 
made a law the very reverse of this, namely, to 
wear their hair long, though they had always 
before cut it close. Othryadas himself, it is 
said, the sole survivor of the three hundred, 
prevented by a sense of shame from returning 
to Sparta after all his comrades had fallen, laid 
violent hands upon himself in Thyrea. 

83. Although the Spartans were engaged 
with these matters when the herald arrived 
from Sardis to entreat them to come to the as- 
sistance of the besieged king, yet, notwith- 
standing, they instantly set to work to afford 
him help. They had completed their prepara- 
tions, and the ships were just ready to start, 
when a second message informed them that 
the place had already fallen, and that Croesus 
was a prisoner. Deeply grieved at his misfor- 
tune, the Spartans ceased their efforts. 

84. The following is the way in which Sar- 
dis was taken. On the fourteenth day of the 
siege Cyrus bade some horsemen ride about his 
lines, and make proclamation to the whole 
army that he would give a reward to the man 
who should first mount the wall. After this he 
made an assault, but without success. His 
troops retired, but a certain Mardian, Hyroea- 
des by name, resolved to approach the citadel 
and attempt it at a place where no guards were 
ever set. On this side the rock was so precipi- 
tous, and the citadel (as it seemed) so impreg- 
nable, that no fear was entertained of its being 
carried in this place. Here was the only portion 
of the circuit round which their old king Meles 
did not carry the lion which his leman bore to 
him. For when the Tclmessians had declared 
that if the lion were taken round the defences, 
Sardis would be impregnable, and Meles, in 
consequence, carried it round the rest of the 
fortress where the citadel seemed open to at- 
tack, he scorned to take it round this side, 
which he looked on as a sheer precipice, and 
therefore absolutely secure. It is on that side of 
the city which faces Mount Tmolus. Hyroea- 
des, however, having the day before observed 




a Lydian soldier descend the rock after a hel- 
met that had rolled down from the top, and 
having seen him pick it up and carry it back, 
thought over what he had witnessed, and 
formed his plan. He climbed the rock himself, 
and other Persians followed in his track, until a 
large number had mounted to the top. Thus was 
Sardis taken, and given up entirely to pillage. 

85. With respect to Croesus himself, this is 
what befell him at the taking of the town. He 
had a son, of whom I made mention above, a 
worthy youth, whose only defect was that he 
was deaf and dumb. In the days of his prosper- 
ity Croesus had done the utmost that he could 
for him, and among other plans which he had 
devised, had sent to Delphi to consult the ora- 
cle on his behalf. The answer which he had re- 
ceived from the Pythoness ran thus: 

Lydian, wide-ruling monarch, thou wondrous 

simple Croesus, 
Wish not ever to hear in thy palace the voice thou 

hast prayed for 
Uttcnng intelligent sounds. Far better thy son 

should be silent I 
Ah! woe worth the day when thine ear shall first 

list to his accents. 

When the town was taken, one of the Per- 
sians was just going to kill Croesus, not know- 
ing who he was. Croesus saw the man coming, 
but under the pressure of his affliction, did not 
care to avoid the blow, not minding whether 
or no he died beneath the stroke. Then this 
son of his, who was voiceless, beholding the 
Persian as he rushed towards Croesus, in the 
agony of his fear and grief burst into speech, 
and said, "Man, do not kill Croesus." This was 
the first time that he had ever spoken a word, 
but afterwards he retained the power of speech 
for the remainder of his life. 

86. Thus was Sardis taken by the Persians, 
and Croesus himself fell into their hands, after 
having reigned fourteen years, and been be- 
sieged in his capital fourteen days; thus too did 
Croesus fulfill the oracle, which said that he 
should destroy a mighty empire by destroy- 
ing his own. Then the Persians who had made 
Croesus prisoner brought him before Cyrus. 
Now a vast pile had been raised by his orders, 
and Croesus, laden with fetters, was placed 
upon it, and with him twice seven of the sons 
of the Lydians. I know not whether Cyrus was 
minded to make an offering of the first-fruits 
to some god or other, or whether he had vowed 
a vow and was performing it, or whether, as 
may well be, he had heard that Croesus was a 
holy man, and so wished to see if any of the 

heavenly powers would appear to save him 
from being burnt alive. However it might be, 
Cyrus was thus engaged, and Croesus was al- 
ready on the pile, when it entered his mind 
in the depth of his woe that there was a divine 
warning in the words which had come to him 
from the lips of Solon, "No one while he lives 
is happy." When this thought smote him he 
fetched a long breath, and breaking his deep 
silence, groaned out aloud, thrice uttering the 
name of Solon. Cyrus caught the sounds, and 
bade the interpreters inquire of Croesus who it 
was he called on. They drew near and asked 
him, but he held his peace, and for a long time 
made no answer to their questionings, until at 
length, forced to say something, he exclaimed, 
"One I would give much to see converse with 
every monarch." Not knowing what he meant 
by this reply, the interpreters begged him to 
explain himself; and as they pressed for an an- 
swer, and grew to be troublesome, he told 
them how, a long time before, Solon, an Athen- 
ian, had come and seen all his splendour, and 
made light of it; and how whatever he had 
said to him had fallen out exactly as he fore- 
showed, although it was nothing that especial- 
ly concerned him, but applied to all mankind 
alike, and most to those who seemed to them- 
selves happy. Meanwhile, as he thus spoke, the 
pile was lighted, and the outer portion began 
to blaze. Then Cyrus, hearing from the inter- 
preters what Croesus had said, relented, be- 
thinking himself that he too was a man, and 
that it was a fellow-man, and one who had 
once been as blessed by fortune as himself, that 
he was burning alive; afraid, moreover, of ret- 
ribution, and full of the thought that whatever 
is human is insecure. So he bade them quench 
the blazing fire as quickly as they could, and 
take down Croesus and the other Lydians, 
which they tried to do, but the flames were not 
to be mastered. 

87. Then, the Lydians say that Croesus, per- 
ceiving by the efforts made to quench the fire 
that Cyrus had relented, and seeing also that 
all was in vain, and that the men could not get 
the fire under, called with a loud voice upon 
the god Apollo, and prayed him, if he ever re- 
ceived at his hands any acceptable gift, to come 
to his aid, and deliver him from his present 
danger. As thus with tears he besought the 
god, suddenly, though up to that time the sky 
had been clear and the day without a breath of 
wind, dark clouds gathered, and the storm 
burst over their heads with rain of such vio- 
lence, that the flames were speedily extm- 




guished. Cyrus, convinced by this that Croesus 
was a good man and a favourite of heaven, 
asked him after he was taken off the pile, 
"Who it was that had persuaded him to lead 
an army into his country, and so become his 
foe rather than continue his friend?" to which 
Croesus made answer as follows: "What I did, 
oh! king, was to thy advantage and to my own 
loss. If there be blame, it rests with the god of 
the Greeks, who encouraged me to begin the 
war. No one is so foolish as to prefer war to 
peace, in which, instead of sons burying their 
fathers, fathers bury their sons. But the gods 
willed it so." 

88. Thus did Croesus speak. Cyrus then ord- 
ered his fetters to be taken off, and made him 
sit down near himself, and paid him much re- 
spect, looking upon him, as did also the cour- 
tiers, with a sort of wonder. Croesus, wrapped 
in thought, uttered no word. After a while, 
happening to turn and perceive the Persian 
soldiers engaged in plundering the town, he 
said to Cyrus, "May I now tell thee, oh! king, 
what I have in my mind, or is silence best?" 
Cyrus bade him speak his mind boldly. Then 
he put this question: "What is it, oh! Cyrus, 
which those men yonder are doing so busily?" 
"Plundering thy city," Cyrus answered, "and 
carrying off thy riches." "Not my city," re- 
joined the other, "nor my riches. They are not 
mine any more. It is thy wealth which they are 

89. Cyrus, struck by what Croesus had said, 
bade all the court to withdraw, and then asked 
Croesus what he thought it best for him to do 
as regarded the plundering. Croesus answered, 
"Now that the gods have made me thy slave, 
oh! Cyrus, it seems to me that it is my part, if 
I see anything to thy advantage, to show it to 
thee. Thy subjects, the Persians, are a poor peo- 
ple with a proud spirit. If then thou lettest 
them pillage and possess themselves of great 
wealth, I will tell thee what thou hast to expect 
at their hands. The man who gets the most, 
look to having him rebel against thee. Now 
then, if my words please thee, do thus, oh! 
king: Let some of thy bodyguards be placed 
as sentinels at each of the city gates, and let 
them take their booty from the soldiers as they 
leave the town, and tell them that they do so 
because the tenths are due to Jupiter. So wilt 
thou escape the hatred they would feel if the 
plunder were taken away from them by force; 
and they, seeing that what is proposed is just, 
will do it willingly." 

90. Cyrus was beyond measure pleased with 

this advice, so excellent did it seem to him. He 
praised Croesus highly, and gave orders to his 
bodyguard to do as he had suggested. Then, 
turning to Croesus, he said, "Oh! Croesus, I see 
that thou are resolved both in speech and act 
to show thyself a virtuous prince: ask me, 
therefore, whatever thou wilt as a gift at this 
moment." Croesus replied, "Oh! my lord, if 
thou wilt suffer me to send these fetters to the 
god of the Greeks, whom I once honoured 
above all other gods, and ask him if it is his 
wont to deceive his benefactors that will be 
the highest favour thou canst confer on me." 
Cyrus upon this inquired what charge he had 
to make against the god. Then Croesus gave 
him a full account of all his projects, and ot the 
answers of the oracle, and of the offerings 
which he had sent, on which he dwelt espe- 
cially, and told him how it was the encourage- 
ment given him by the oracle which had led 
him to make war upon Persia. All this he re- 
lated, and at the end again besought permis- 
sion to reproach the god with his behaviour. 
Cyrus answered with a laugh, "This I readily 
grant thee, and whatever else thou shah at any 
time ask at my hands." Croesus, finding his re- 
quest allowed, sent certain Lydians to Delphi, 
enjoining them to lay his fetters upon the 
threshold of the temple, and ask the god, "If he 
were not ashamed of having encouraged him, 
as the destined destroyer of the empire of Cy- 
rus, to begin a war with Persia, of which such 
were the first-fruits?" As they said this they 
were to point to the fetters; and further they 
were to inquire, "If it was the wont of the 
Greek gods to be ungrateful?" 

91. The Lydians went to Delphi and de- 
livered their message, on which the Pythoness 
is said to have replied "It is not possible even 
for a god to escape the decree of destiny. Croe- 
sus has been punished for the sin of his fifth 
ancestor, who, when he was one of the body- 
guard of the Heraclides, joined in a woman's 
fraud, and, slaying his master, wrongfully 
seized the throne. Apollo was anxious that the 
fall of Sardis should not happen in the lifetime 
of Croesus, but be delayed to his son's days; he 
could not, however, persuade the Fates. All 
that they were willing to allow he took and 
gave to Croesus. Let Croesus know that Apollo 
delayed the taking of Sardis three full years, 
and that he is thus a prisoner three years later 
than was his destiny. Moreover it was Apollo 
who saved him from the burning pile. Nor has 
Croesus any right to complain with respect to 
the oracular answer which he received. For 




when the god told him that, if he attacked the 
Persians, he would destroy a mighty empire, he 
ought, if he had been wise, to have sent again 
and inquired which empire was meant, that 
of Cyrus or his own; but if he neither under- 
stood what was said, nor took the trouble to 
seek for enlightenment, he has only himself to 
blame for the result. Besides, he had misunder- 
stood the last answer which had been given 
him about the mule. Cyrus was that mule. For 
the parents of Cyrus were of different races, 
and of different conditions his mother a 
Median princess, daughter of King Astyages, 
and his father a Persian and a subject, who, 
though so far beneath her in all respects, had 
married his royal mistress." 

Such was the answer of the Pythoness. The 
Lydians returned to Sardis and communicated 
it to Croesus, who confessed, on hearing it, 
that the fault was his, not the god's. Such was 
the way in which Ionia was first conquered, 
and so was the empire of Crcesus brought to 
a close. 

92. Besides the offerings which have been 
already mentioned, there are many others in 
various parts of Greece presented by Crcesus; 
as at Thebes in Bceotia, where there is a golden 
tripod, dedicated by him to Ismeman Apollo; 
at Ephesus, where the golden heifers, and most 
of the columns are his gift; and at Delphi, in 
the temple of Pronaia, where there is a huge 
shield in gold, which he gave. All these offer- 
ings were still in existence in my day; many 
others have perished: among them those which 
he dedicated at Branchida; in Milesia, equal 
in weight, as I am informed, and in all respects 
like to those at Delphi. The Delphian presents, 
and those sent to Amphiaraiis, came from his 
own private property, being the first-iruits of 
the fortune which he inherited from his father; 
his other offerings came from the riches of an 
enemy, who, before he mounted the throne, 
headed a party against him, with the view of 
obtaining the crown of Lydia for Pantaleon. 
This Pantaleon was a son of Alyattes, but by 
a different mother from Croesus; for the 
mother of Croesus was a Carian woman, but 
the mother of Pantaleon an Ionian. When, by 
the appointment of his father, Croesus ob- 
tained the kingly dignity, he seized the man 
who had plotted against him, and broke him 
upon the wheel. His property, which he had 
previously devoted to the service of the gods, 
Crcesus applied in the way mentioned above. 
This is all I shall say about his offerings. 

93. Lydia, unlike most other countries, 

scarcely offers any wonders for the historian to 
describe, except the gold-dust which is washed 
down from the range of Tmolus. It has, how- 
ever, one structure of enormous size, only in- 
ferior to the monuments of Egypt and Baby- 
lon. This is the tomb of Alyattes, the father of 
Crcesus, the base of which is formed of im- 
mense blocks of stone, the rest being a vast 
mound of earth. It was raised by the joint la- 
bour of the tradesmen, handicraftsmen, and 
courtesans of Sardis, and had at the top five 
stone pillars, which remained to my day, with 
inscriptions cut on them, showing how much 
of the work was done by each class of work- 
people. It appeared on measurement that the 
portion of the courtesans was the largest. The 
daughters of the common people in Lydia, one 
and all, pursue this traffic, wishing to collect 
money for their portions. They continue the 
practice till they marry; and are wont to con- 
tract themselves in marriage. The tomb is six 
stades and two plethra in circumference; its 
breadth is thirteen plethra. Close to the tomb 
is a large lake, which the Lydians say is never 
dry. They call it the Lake Gygaca. 

94. The Lydians have very nearly the same 
customs as the Greeks, with the exception that 
these last do not bring up their girls in the same 
way. So far as we have any knowledge, they 
were the first nation to introduce the use of 
gold and silver coin, and the first who sold 
goods by retail. They claim also the invention 
of all the games which are common to them 
with the Greeks. These they declare that they 
invented about the time when they colonised 
Tyrrhema, an event of which they give the 
following account. In the days of Atys, the son 
of Manes, there was great scarcity through the 
whole land of Lydia. For some time the Lyd- 
ians bore the affliction patiently, but finding 
that it did not pass away, they set to work to 
devise remedies for the evil. Various expedi- 
ents were discovered by various persons; dice, 
and huckle-bones, and ball, and all such games 
were invented, except tables, the invention of 
which they do not claim as theirs. The plan 
adopted against the famine was to engage in 
games one day so entirely as not to feel any 
craving for food, and the next day to eat and 
abstain from games. In this way they passed 
eighteen years. Still the affliction continued 
and even became more grievous. So the king 
determined to divide the nation in half, and to 
make the two portions draw lots, the one to 
stay, the other to leave the land. He would 
continue to reign over those whose lot it should 




be to remain behind; the emigrants should 
have his son Tyrrhenus for their leader. The 
lot was cast, and they who had to emigrate 
went down to Smyrna, and built themselves 
ships, in which, after they had put on board all 
needful stores, they sailed away in search of 
new homes and better sustenance. After sailing 
past many countries they came to Umbna, 
where they built cities for themselves, and fixed 
their residence. Their former name of Lydians 
they laid aside, and called themselves after the 
name of the king's son, who led the colony, 

95. Thus far I have been engaged in show- 
ing how the Lydians were brought under the 
Persian yoke. The course of my history now 
compels me to inquire who this Cyrus was by 
whom the Lydian empire was destroyed, and 
by what means the Persians had become the 
lords paramount of Asia. And herein I shall 
follow those Persian authorities whose object 
it appears to be not to magnify the exploits of 
Cyrus, but to relate the simple truth. I know 
besides three ways m which the story of Cyrus 
is told, all differing from my own narrative. 

The Assyrians had held the Empire of Up- 
per Asia for the space of five hundred and 
twenty years, when the Medes set the example 
of revolt from their authority. They took arms 
for the recovery of their freedom, and fought 
a battle with the Assyrians, in which they be- 
haved with such gallantry as to shake off the 
yoke of servitude, and to become a free people. 
Upon their success the other nations also re- 
volted and regained their independence. 

96. Thus the nations over that whole extent 
of country obtained the blessing of self-gov- 
ernment, but they fell again under the sway of 
kings, in the manner which I will now relate. 
There was a certain Mede named Deioces, son 
of Phraortes, a man of much wisdom, who had 
conceived the desire of obtaining to himself the 
sovereign power. In furtherance of his ambi- 
tion, therefore, he formed and carried into ex- 
ecution the following scheme. As the Medes at 
that time dwelt in scattered villages without 
any central authority, and lawlessness in con- 
sequence prevailed throughout the land, Deio- 
ces, who was already a man of mark in his 
own village, applied himself with greater zeal 
and earnestness than ever before to the practice 
of justice among his fellows. It was his con- 
viction that justice and injustice are engaged in 
perpetual war with one another. He therefore 
began his course of conduct, and presently the 
men of his village, observing his integrity, 

chose him to be the arbiter of all their disputes. 
Bent on obtaining the sovereign power, he 
showed himself an honest and an upright 
judge, and by these means gained such credit 
with his fellow-citizens as to attract the atten- 
tion of those who lived in the surrounding vil- 
lages. They had long been suffering from un- 
just and oppressive judgments; so that, when 
they heard of the singular uprightness of Deio- 
ces, and of the equity of his decisions, they joy- 
fully had recourse to him in the various quar- 
rels and suits that arose, until at last they came 
to put confidence in no one else. 

97. The number of complaints brought be- 
fore him continually increasing, as people 
learnt more and more the fairness of his judg- 
ments, Deioces, feeling himself now all impor- 
tant, announced that he did not intend any 
longer to hear causes, and appeared no more 
in the seat in which he had been accustomed 
to sit and administer justice. "It did not square 
with his interests," he said, "to spend the 
whole day in regulating other men's affairs to 
the neglect of his own." Hereupon robbery and 
lawlessness broke out afresh, and prevailed 
through the country even more than hereto- 
fore; wherefore the Medes assembled from all 
quarters, and held a consultation on the state 
of affairs. The speakers, as I think, were chiefly 
friends of Deioces. "We cannot possibly," they 
said, "go on living in this country if things 
continue as they now are; let us therefore set a 
king over us, that so the land may be well gov- 
erned, and we ourselves may be able to attend 
to our own affairs, and not be forced to quit 
our country on account of anarchy." The as- 
sembly was persuaded by these arguments, and 
resolved to appoint a king. 

98. It followed to determine who should be 
chosen to the office. When this debate began 
the claims of Deioces and his praises were at 
once in every mouth; so that presently all 
agreed that he should be king. Upon this he 
required a palace to be built for him suitable 
to his rank, and a guard to be given him for 
his person. The Medes complied, and built him 
a strong and large palace, on a spot which he 
himself pointed out, and likewise gave him 
liberty to choose himself a bodyguard from the 
whole nation. Thus settled upon the throne, he 
further required them to build a single great 
city, and, disregarding the petty towns in 
which they had formerly dwelt, make the new 
capital the object of their chief attention. The 
Medes were again obedient, and built the city 
now called Agbatana, the walls of which are of 



[ BOOK i 

great size and strength, rising in circles one 
within the other. The plan of the place is that 
each of the walls should out-top the one be- 
yond it by the battlements. The nature of the 
ground, which is a gentle hill, favours this ar- 
rangement in some degree, but it was mainly 
effected by art. The number of the circles is 
seven, the royal palace and the treasuries stand- 
ing within the last. The circuit of the outer 
wall is very nearly the same with that of Ath- 
ens. Of this wall the battlements are white, of 
the next black, of the third scarlet, of the fourth 
blue, of the fifth orange; all these are coloured 
with paint. The two last have their battlements 
coated respectively with silver and gold. 

99. All these fortifications Deioces caused to 
be raised for himself and his own palace. The 
people were required to build their dwellings 
outside the circuit of the walls. When the town 
was finished, he proceeded to arrange the cere- 
monial. He allowed no one to have direct ac- 
cess to the person of the king, but made all 
communication pass through the hands of mes- 
sengers, and forbade the king to be seen by his 
subjects. He also made it an offence for any one 
whatsoever to laugh or spit in the royal pres- 
ence. This ceremonial, of which he was the 
first inventor, Deioces established tor his own 
security, fearing that his compeers, who were 
brought up together with him, and were of as 
good family as he, and no whit inferior to him 
in manly qualities, if they saw him frequently 
would be pained at the sight, and would there- 
fore be likely to conspire against him; whereas 
if they did not see him, they would think him 
quite a different sort of being from themselves. 

joo. After completing these arrangements, 
and firmly settling himself upon the throne, 
Deioces continued to administer justice with 
the same strictness as before. Causes were stat- 
ed in writing, and sent in to the king, who 
passed his judgment upon the contents, and 
transmitted his decisions to the parties con- 
cerned: besides which he had spies and eaves- 
droppers in all parts of his dominions, and if he 
heard ot any act of oppression, he sent for the 
guilty party, and awarded him the punishment 
meet for his offence. 

101. Thus Deioces collected the Medes into 
a nation, and ruled over them alone. Now these 
are the tribes of which they consist: the Busae, 
the Paretacem, the Struchates, the Arizanti, the 
Budii, and the Magi. 

102. Having reigned three-and-fifty years, 
Deioces was at his death succeeded by his son 
Phraortes. This prince, not satisfied with a do- 

minion which did not extend beyond the single 
nation of the Medes, began by attacking the 
Persians; and marching an army into their 
country, brought them under the Median yoke 
before any other people. After this success, be- 
ing now at the head of two nations, both of 
them powerful, he proceeded to conquer Asia, 
overrunning province after province. At last 
he engaged in war with the Assyrians those 
Assyrians, I mean, to whom Nineveh belonged, 
who were formerly the lords of Asia. At pres- 
ent they stood alone by the revolt and desertion 
of their allies, yet still their internal condition 
was as flourishing as ever. Phraortes attacked 
them, but perished in the expedition with the 
greater part of his army, after having reigned 
over the Medes two-and-twenty years. 

103. On the death of Phraortes his son Cy- 
axares ascended the throne. Of him it is report- 
ed that he was still more war-like than any of 
his ancestors, and that he was the first who 
gave organisation to an Asiatic army, dividing 
the troops into companies, and forming dis- 
tinct bodies of the spearmen, the archers, and 
the cavalry, who before his time had been min- 
gled in one mass, and confused together. He it 
was who fought against the Lydians on the oc- 
casion when the day was changed suddenly 
into night, and who brought under his domin- 
ion the whole of Asia beyond the Halys. This 
prince, collecting together all the nations 
which owned his sway, marched against Nine- 
veh, resolved to avenge his father, and cherish- 
ing a hope that he might succeed in taking the 
town. A battle was fought, in which the Assyr- 
ians suffered a defeat, and Cyaxares had al- 
ready begun the siege of the place, when a nu- 
merous horde of Scyths, under their king Mad- 
yes, son of Prtotohyes, burst into Asia in pursuit 
of the Cimmerians whom they had driven out 
of Europe, and entered the Median territory. 

104. The distance from the Palus Maeotis to 
the river Phasis and the Colchians is thirty 
days' journey for a lightly-equipped traveller. 
From Colchis to cross into Media does not take 
long there is only a single intervening nation, 
the Saspinans, passing whom you find your- 
self in Media. This however was not the road 
followed by the Scythians, who turned out of 
the straight course, and took the upper route, 
which is much longer, keeping the Caucasus 
upon their right. The Scythians, having thus 
invaded Media, were opposed by the Medes, 
who gave them battle, but, being defeated, lost 
their empire. The Scythians became masters 
of Asia. 




105. After this they marched forward with 
the design of invading Egypt. When they had 
reached Palestine, however, Psammetichus the 
Egyptian king met them with gifts and pray- 
ers, and prevailed on them to advance no fur- 
ther. On their return, passing through Asca- 
lon, a city of Syria, the greater part of them 
went their way without doing any damage; 
but some few who lagged behind pillaged the 
temple of Celestial Venus. I have inquired and 
find that the temple at Ascalon is the most an- 
cient of all the temples to this goddess; for the 
one in Cyprus, as the Cyprians themselves ad- 
mit, was built in imitation of it; and that in 
Cythera was erected by the Phoenicians, who 
belong to this part of Syria. The Scythians who 
plundered the temple were punished by the 
goddess with the female sickness, which still 
attaches to their posterity. They themselves 
confess that they are afflicted with the disease 
for this reason, and travellers who visit Scythia 
can see what sort of a disease it is. Those who 
suffer from it are called Enarees. 

106. The dominion of the Scythians over 
Asia lasted eight-and-twenty years, during 
which time their insolence and oppression 
spread ruin on every side. For besides the regu- 
lar tribute, they exacted from the several na- 
tions additional imposts, which they fixed at 
pleasure; and further, they scoured the country 
and plundered every one of whatever they 
could. At length Cyaxares and the Medes in- 
vited the greater part of them to a banquet, and 
made them drunk with wine, after which they 
were all massacred. The Medes then recovered 
their empire, and had the same extent of do- 
minion as before. They took Nineveh I will 
relate how in another history and conquered 
all Assyria except the district of Babylonia. Aft- 
er this Cyaxares died, having reigned over the 
Medes, if we include the time of the Scythian 
rule, forty years. 

107. Astyages, the son of Cyaxares, succeed- 
ed to the throne. He had a daughter who was 
named Mandane concerning whom he had a 
wonderful dream. He dreamt that from her 
such a stream of water flowed forth as not only 
to fill his capital, but to flood the whole of 
Asia. This vision he laid before such of the 
Magi as had the gift of interpreting dreams, 
who expounded its meaning to him in full, 
whereat he was greatly terrified. On this ac- 
count, when his daughter, was now of ripe age, 
he would not give her in marriage to any of 
the Medes who were of suitable rank, lest the 
dream should be accomplished; but he married 

her to a Persian of good family indeed, but of 
a quiet temper, whom he looked on as much 
inferior to a Mede of even middle condition. 

1 08. Thus Cambyses (for so was the Persian 
called) wedded Mandane*, and took her to his 
home, after which, in the very first year, Asty- 
ages saw another vision. He fancied that a 
vine grew from the womb of his daughter, and 
overshadowed the whole of Asia. After this 
dream, which he submitted also to the inter- 
preters, he sent to Persia and fetched away 
Mandane, who was now with child, and was 
not far from her time. On her arrival he set a 
watch over her, intending to destroy the child 
to which she should give birth; for the Magian 
interpreters had expounded the vision to fore- 
show that the offspring of his daughter would 
reign over Asia in his stead. To guard against 
this, Astyages, as soon as Cyrus was born, sent 
for Harpagus, a man of his own house and the 
most faithful of the Medes, to whom he was 
wont to entrust all his affairs, and addressed 
him thus "Harpagus, I beseech thce neglect 
not the business with which I am about to 
charge thee; neither betray thou the interests of 
thy lord for others' sake, lest thou bring de- 
struction on thine own head at some future 
time. Take the child born of Mandane my 
daughter; carry him with thee to thy home 
and slay him there. Then bury him as thou 
wilt." "Oh! king/' replied the other, "never in 
time past did Harpagus disoblige thee in any- 
thing, and be sure that through all future time 
he will be careful in nothing to offend. If there- 
fore it be thy will that this thing be done, it is 
for me to serve thee with all diligence." 

109. When Harpagus had thus answered, 
the child was given into his hands, clothed in 
the garb of death, and he hastened weeping to 
his home. There on his arrival he found his 
wife, to whom he told all that Astyages had 
said. "What then," said she, "is it now in thy 
heart to do?" "Not what Astyages requires," 
he answered; "no, he may be madder and more 
frantic still than he is now, but I will not be 
the man to work his will, or lend a helping 
hand to such a murder as this. Many things 
forbid my slaying him. In the first place the 
boy is my own kith and km; and next Astyages 
is old, and has no son. If then when he dies the 
crown should go to his daughter that daugh- 
ter whose child he now wishes to slay by my 
hand what remains for me but danger of the 
fearfullest kind? For my own safety, indeed, 
the child must die; but some one belonging to 
Astyages must take his life, not I or mine." 



[BOOK i 

1 10. So saying he sent off a messenger to 
fetch a certain Mitradates, one of the herdsmen 
of Astyages, whose pasturages he knew to be 
the fittest for his purpose, lying as they did 
among mountains infested with wild beasts. 
This man was married to one of the king's fe- 
male slaves, whose Median name was Spaco, 
which is in Greek Cyno, since in the Median 
tongue the word "Spaca" means a bitch. The 
mountains, on the skirts of which his cattle 
grazed, lie to the north of Agbatana, towards 
the Euxine. That part of Media which borders 
on the Saspinans is an elevated tract, very 
mountainous, and covered with torests, while 
the rest of the Median territory is entirely level 
ground. On the arrival of the herdsman, who 
came at the hasty summons, Harpagus said to 
him "Astyages requires thce to take this child 
and lay him in the wildest part of the hills, 
where he will be sure to die speedily. And he 
bade me tell thee, that if thou dost not kill the 
boy, but anyhow allowest him to escape, he 
will put thee to the most painful of deaths. I 
myself am appointed to see the child exposed." 

in. The herdsman on hearing this took the 
child in his arms, and went back the way he 
had come till he reached the folds. There, prov- 
identially, his wife, who had been expecting 
daily to be put to bed, had just, during the ab- 
sence of her husband, been delivered of a child. 
Both the herdsman and his wife were uneasy 
on each other's account, the former fearful be- 
cause his wife was so near her time, the woman 
alarmed because it was a new thing for her 
husband to be sent for by Harpagus. When 
therefore he came into the house upon his re- 
turn, his wife, seeing him arrive so unexpected- 
ly, was the first to speak, and begged to know 
why Harpagus had sent for him in such a hur- 
ry. "Wife," said he, "when I got to the town I 
saw and heard such things as I would to heaven 
I had never seen such things as I would to 
heaven had never happened to our masters. 
Every one was weeping in Harpagus's house. 
It quite frightened me, but I went in. The mo- 
ment I stepped inside, what should I see but a 
baby lying on the floor, panting and whimper- 
ing, and all covered with gold, and wrapped in 
clothes of such beautiful colours. Harpagus 
saw me, and directly ordered me to take the 
child in my arms and carry him off, and what 
was I to do with him, think you? Why, to lay 
him in the mountains, where the wild beasts 
are most plentiful. And he told me it was the 
king himself that ordered it to be done, and he 
threatened me with such dreadful things if I 

failed. So I took the child up in my arms, and 
carried him along. I thought it might be the 
son of one of the household slaves. I did won- 
der certainly to see the gold and the beautiful 
baby-clothes, and I could not think why there 
was such a weeping in Harpagus's house. 
Well, very soon, as I came along, I got at the 
truth. They sent a servant with me to show me 
the way out of the town, and to leave the baby 
in my hands; and he told me that the child's 
mother is the king's daughter Mandane, and 
his father Cambyses, the son of Cyrus; and that 
the king orders him to be killed; and look, here 
the child is." 

112. With this the herdsman uncovered the 
infant, and showed him to his wife, who, when 
she saw him, and observed how fine a child 
and how beautiful he was, burst into tears, and 
clinging to the knees of her husband, besought 
him on no account to expose the babe; to 
which he answered, that it was not possible for 
him to do otherwise, as Harpagus would be 
sure to send persons to see and report to him, 
and he was to suffer a most cruel death if he 
disobeyed. Failing thus in her first attempt to 
persuade her husband, the woman spoke a sec- 
ond time, saying, "If then there is no persuad- 
ing thee, and a child must needs be seen ex- 
posed upon the mountains, at least do thus. 
The child of which I have just been delivered 
is stillborn; take it and lay it on the hills, and 
let us bring up as our own the child of the 
daughter of Astyages. So shalt thou not be 
charged with unfaithfulness to thy lord, nor 
shall we have managed badly for ourselves. 
Our dead babe will have a royal funeral, and 
this living child will not be deprived of life." 

113. It seemed to the herdsman that this ad- 
vice was the best under the circumstances. He 
therefore followed it without loss of time. The 
child which he had intended to put to death he 
gave over to his wife, and his own dead child 
he put in the cradle wherein he had carried 
the other, clothing it first in all the other's cost- 
ly attire, and taking it in his arms he laid it in 
the wildest place of all the mountain-range. 
When the child had been three days exposed, 
leaving one of his helpers to watch the body, 
he started off for the city, and going straight to 
Harpagus's house, declared himself ready to 
show the corpse of the boy. Harpagus sent cer- 
tain of his bodyguard, on whom he had the 
firmest reliance, to view the body for him, and, 
satisfied with their seeing it, gave orders for 
the funeral. Thus was the herdsman's child 
buried, and the other child, who was after- 

1 10-117] 

wards known by the name of Cyrus, was taken 
by the herdsman's wife, and brought up under 
a different name. 

1 14. When the boy was in his tenth year, an 
accident which I will now relate, caused it to 
be discovered who he was. He was at play one 
day in the village where the folds of the cattle 
were, along with the boys of his own age, in 
the street. The other boys who were playing 
with him chose the cowherd's son, as he was 
called, to be their king. He then proceeded to 
order them about some he set to build him 
houses, others he made his guards, one of them 
was to be the king's eye, another had the office 
of carrying his messages; all had some task or 
other. Among the boys there was one, the son 
of Artembares, a Mede of distinction, who re- 
fused to do what Cyrus had set him. Cyrus 
told the other boys to take him into custody, 
and when his orders were obeyed, he chastised 
him most severely with the whip. The son of 
Artembares, as soon as he was let go, full of 
rage at treatment so little befitting his rank, 
hastened to the city and complained bitterly to 
his father of what had been done to him by 
Cyrus. He did not, of course, say "Cyrus," by 
which name the boy was not yet known, but 
called him the son of the king's cowherd. Ar- 
tembares, in the heat of his passion, went to 
Astyages, accompanied by his son, and made 
complaint of the gross injury which had been 
done him. Pointing to the boy's shoulders, he 
exclaimed, "Thus, oh! king, has thy slave, the 
son of a cowherd, heaped insult upon us." 

115. At this sight and these words Astyages, 
wishing to avenge the son of Artembares for 
his father's sake, sent for the cowherd and his 
boy. When they came together into his pres- 
ence, fixing his eyes on Cyrus, Astyages said, 
"Hast thou then, the son of so mean a fellow 
as that, dared to behave thus rudely to the son 
of yonder noble, one of the first in my court?" 
"My lord," replied the boy, "I only treated him 
as he deserved. I was chosen king in play by 
the boys of our village, because they thought 
me the best for it. He himself was one of the 
boys who chose me. All the others did accord- 
ing to my orders; but he refused, and made 
light of them, until at last he got his due re- 
ward. If for this I deserve to suffer punishment, 
here I am ready to submit to it." 

116. While the boy was yet speaking Asty- 
ages was struck with a suspicion who he was. 
He thought he saw something in the character 
of his face like his own, and there was a noble- 
ness about the answer he had made; besides 



which his age seemed to tally with the time 
when his grandchild was exposed. Astonished 
at all this, Astyages could not speak for a while. 
At last, recovering himself with difficulty, and 
wishing to be quit of Artembares, that he 
might examine the herdsman alone, he said to 
the former, "I promise thee, Artembares, so to 
settle this business that neither thou nor thy 
son shall have any cause to complain." Artem- 
bares retired from his presence, and the at- 
tendants, at the bidding of the king, led Cyrus 
into an inner apartment. Astyages then being 
left alone with the herdsman, inquired of him 
where he had got the boy, and who had given 
him to him; to which he made answer that the 
lad was his own child, begotten by himself, 
and that the mother who bore him was still 
alive with him in his house. Astyages re- 
marked that he was very ill-advised to bring 
himself into such great trouble, and at the 
same time signed to his bodyguard to lay hold 
of him. Then the herdsman, as they were drag- 
ging him to the rack, began at the beginning, 
and told the whole story exactly as it happened, 
without concealing anything, ending with en- 
treaties and prayers to the king to grant him 

117. Astyages, having got the truth of the 
matter from the herdsman, was very little fur- 
ther concerned about him, but with Harpagus 
he was exceedingly enraged. The guards were 
bidden to summon him into the presence, and 
on his appearance Astyages asked him, "By 
what death was it, Harpagus, that thou slewest 
the child of my daughter whom I gave into thy 
hands?" Harpagus, seeing the cowherd in the 
room, did not betake himself to lies, lest he 
should be confuted and proved false, but re- 
plied as follows: "Sire, when thou gavest the 
child into my hands I instantly considered with 
myself how I could contrive to execute thy 
wishes, and yet, while guiltless of any unfaith- 
fulness towards thee, avoid imbruing my 
hands in blood which was in truth thy daugh- 
ter's and thine own. And this was how I con- 
trived it. I sent for this cowherd, and gave the 
child over to him, telling him that by the king's 
orders it was to be put to death. And in this I 
told no lie, for thou hadst so commanded. 
Moreover, when I gave him the child, I en- 
joined him to lay it somewhere in the wilds of 
the mountains, and to stay near and watch till 
it was dead; and I threatened him with all 
manner of punishment if he failed. After- 
wards, when he had done according to all that 
I commanded him, and the child had died, I 



[BOOK i 

sent some of the most trustworthy of my eu- 
nuchs, who viewed the body for me, and then I 
had the child buried. This, sire, is the simple 
truth, and this is the death by which the child 

1 1 8. Thus Harpagus related the whole story 
in a plain, straightforward way; upon which 
Astyages, letting no sign escape him of the 
anger that he felt, began by repeating to him all 
that he had just heard from the cowherd, and 
then concluded with saying, "So the boy is 
alive, and it is best as it is. For the child's fate 
was a great sorrow to me, and the reproaches 
of my daughter went to my heart. Truly for- 
tune has played us a good turn in this. Go thou 
home then, and send thy son to be with the 
new comer, and to-night, as I mean to sacrifice 
thank-offerings for the child's safety to the 
gods to whom such honour is due, I look to 
have thee a guest at the banquet." 

119. Harpagus, on hearing this, made obeis- 
ance, and went home rejoicing to find that his 
disobedience had turned out so fortunately, 
and that, instead of being punished, he was in- 
vited to a banquet given in honour of the hap- 
py occasion. The moment he reached home he 
called for his son, a youth of about thirteen, the 
only child of his parents, and bade him go to 
the palace, and do whatever Astyages should 
direct. Then, in the gladness of his heart, he 
went to his wife and told her all that had hap- 
pened. Astyages, meanwhile, took the son of 
Harpagus, and slew him, after which he cut 
him in pieces, and roasted some portions be- 
fore the fire, and boiled others; and when all 
were duly prepared, he kept them ready for 
use. The hour for the banquet came, and Har- 
pagus appeared, and with him the other guests, 
and all sat down to the feast. Astyages and the 
rest of the guests had joints of meat served up 
to them; but on the table of Harpagus, nothing 
was placed except the flesh of his own son. This 
was all put before him, except the hands and 
feet and head, which were laid by themselves 
in a covered basket. When Harpagus seemed 
to have eaten his fill, Astyages called out to 
him to know how he had enjoyed the repast. 
On his reply that he had enjoyed it excessively, 
they whose business it was brought him the 
basket, in which were the hands and feet and 
head of his son, and bade him open it, and take 
out what he pleased. Harpagus accordingly un- 
covered the basket, and saw within it the re- 
mains of his son. The sight, however, did not 
scare him, or rob him of his self-possession. Be- 
ing asked by Astyages if he knew what beast's 

flesh it was that he had been eating, he an- 
swered that he knew very well, and that what- 
ever the king did was agreeable. After this re- 
ply, he took with him such morsels of the flesh 
as were uneaten, and went home, intending, 
as I conceive, to collect the remains and bury 

120. Such was the mode in which Astyages 
punished Harpagus: afterwards, proceeding to 
consider what he should do with Cyrus, his 
grandchild, he sent for the Magi, who formerly 
interpreted his dream in the way which 
alarmed him so much, and asked them how 
they had expounded it. They answered, with- 
out varying from what they had said before, 
that "the boy must needs be a king if he grew 
up, and did not die too soon." Then Astyages 
addressed them thus: "The boy has escaped, 
and lives; he has been brought up in the coun- 
try, and the lads of the village where he lives 
have made him theii king. All that kings com- 
monly do he has done. He has had his guards, 
and his doorkeepers, and his messengers, and 
all the other usual officers. Tell me, then, to 
what, think you, does all this tend?" The Magi 
answered, "If the boy survives, and has ruled 
as a king without any craft or contrivance, in 
that case we bid thee cheer up, and feel no 
more alarm on his account. He will not reign 
a second time. For we have found even oracles 
sometimes fulfilled in an unimportant way; 
and dreams, still oftener, have wondrous- 
ly mean accomplishments." "It is what I my- 
self most incline to think," Astyages rejoined; 
"the boy having been already king, the dream 
is out, and I have nothing more to fear from 
him. Nevertheless, take good heed and counsel 
me the best you can for the safety of my house 
and your own interests." "Truly," said the 
Magi in reply, "it very much concerns our in- 
terests that thy kingdom be firmly established; 
for if it went to this boy it would pass into for- 
eign hands, since he is a Persian: and then we 
Medes should lose our freedom, and be quite 
despised by the Persians, as being foreigners. 
But so long as thou, our fellow-countryman, 
art on the throne, all manner of honours are 
ours, and we are even not without some share 
in the government. Much reason therefore 
have we to forecast well for thee and for thy 
sovereignty. If then we saw any cause for pres- 
ent fear, be sure we would not keep it back 
from thee. But truly we are persuaded that the 
dream has had its accomplishment in this 
harmless way; and so our own fears being at 
rest, we recommend thee to banish thine. As 




for the boy, our advice is that thou send him 
away to Persia, to his father and mother." 

121. Astyages heard their answer with pleas- 
ure, and calling Cyrus into his presence, said 
to him, "My child, I was led to do thee a wrong 
by a dream which has come to nothing: from 
that wrong thou wert saved by thy own good 
fortune. Go now with a light heart to Persia; I 
will provide thy escort. Go, and when thou get- 
test to thy journey 's end, thou wilt behold thy 
father and thy mother, quite other people from 
Mitradates the cowherd and his wife." 

122. With these words Astyages dismissed 
his grandchild. On his arrival at the house of 
Cambyses, he was received by his parents, who, 
when they learnt who he was, embraced him 
heartily, having always been convinced that he 
died almost as soon as he was born. So they 
asked him by what means he had chanced to 
escape; and he told them how that till lately he 
had known nothing at all about the matter, but 
had been mistaken oh! so widely! and how 
that he had learnt his history by the way, as he 
came from Media. He had been quite sure that 
he was the son of the king's cowherd, but on 
the road the king's escort had told him all the 
truth; and then he spoke of the cowherd's wife 
who had brought him up, and filled his whole 
talk with her praises; in all that he had to tell 
them about himself, it was always Cyno 
Cyno was everything. So it happened that his 
parents, catching the name at his mouth, and 
wishing to persuade the Persians that there 
was a special providence in his preservation, 
spread the report that Cyrus, when he was ex- 
posed, was suckled by a bitch. This was the 
sole origin of the rumour. 

123. Afterwards, when Cyrus grew to man- 
hood, and became known as the bravest and 
most popular of all his compeers, Harpagus, 
who was bent on revenging himself upon As- 
tyages, began to pay him court by gifts and 
messages. His own rank was too humble for 
him to hope to obtain vengeance without some 
foreign help. When therefore he saw Cyrus, 
whose wrongs were so similar to his own, 
growing up expressly (as it were) to be the 
avenger whom he needed, he set to work to 
procure his support and aid in the matter. He 
had already paved the way for his designs, by 
persuading, severally, the great Median nobles, 
whom the harsh rule of their monarch had 
offended, that the best plan would be to put 
Cyrus at their head, and dethrone Astyages. 
These preparations made, Harpagus, being 
now ready for revolt, was anxious to make 

known his wishes to Cyrus, who still lived in 
Persia; but as the roads between Media and 
Persia were guarded, he had to contrive a 
means of sending word secretly, which he did 
in the following way. He took a hare, and cut- 
ting open its belly without hurting the fur, he 
slipped in a letter containing what he wanted 
to say, and then carefully sewing up the 
paunch, he gave the hare to one of his most 
faithful slaves, disguising him as a hunter with 
nets, and sent him off to Persia to take the 
game as a present to Cyrus, bidding him tell 
Cyrus, by word of mouth, to paunch the ani- 
mal himself, and let no one be present at the 

124. All was done as he wished, and Cyrus, 
on cutting the hare open, found the letter in- 
side, and read as follows: "Son of Cambyses, 
the gods assuredly watch over thee, or never 
wouidst thou have passed through thy many 
wonderful adventures now is the time when 
thou mayst avenge thyself upon Astyages, thy 
murderer. He willed thy death, remember; to 
the gods and to me thou owest that thou art 
still alive. I think thou art not ignorant of what 
he did to thee, nor of what I suffered at his 
hands because I committed thee to the cow- 
herd, and did not put thee to death. Listen now 
to me, and obey my words, and all the empire 
of Astyages shall be thine. Raise the standard 
of revolt in Persia, and then march straight on 
Media. Whether Astyages appoint me to com- 
mand his forces against thee, or whether he 
appoint any other of the princes of the Medes, 
all will go as thou couldst wish. They will be 
the first to fall away from him, and joining thy 
side, exert themselves to overturn his power. 
Be sure that on our part all is ready; wherefore 
do thou thy part, and that speedily." 

125. Cyrus, on receiving the tidings con- 
tained in this letter, set himself to consider how 
he might best persuade the Persians to revolt. 
After much thought, he hit on the following as 
the most expedient course: he wrote what he 
thought proper upon a roll, and then calling 
an assembly of the Persians, he unfolded the 
roll, and read out of it that Astyages appointed 
him their general. "And now," said he, "since 
it is so, I command you to go and bring each 
man his reaping-hook." With these words he 
dismissed the assembly. 

Now the Persian nation is made up of many 
tribes. Those which Cyrus assembled and per- 
suaded to revolt from the Medes were the 
principal ones on which all the others are de- 
pendent. These are the Pasargadae, the Mara- 



[ BOOK i 

phians, and the Maspians, of whom the Pasar- 
gadae arc the noblest. The Achaemenidae, from 
which spring all the Perseid kings, is one of 
their clans. The rest of the Persian tribes are 
the following: the Panthialxans, the Deru- 
siaeans, the Germanians, who are engaged in 
husbandry; the Daans, the Mardians, the Drop- 
icans, and the Sagartians, who are nomads. 

126. When, in obedience to the orders which 
they had received, the Persians came with their 
reaping-hooks, Cyrus led them to a tract of 
ground, about eighteen or twenty furlongs 
each way, covered with thorns, and ordered 
them to clear it before the day was out. They 
accomplished their task; upon which he issued 
a second order to them, to take the bath the 
day following, and again come to him. Mean- 
while he collected together all his father's 
flocks, both sheep and goats, and all his oxen, 
and slaughtered them, and made ready to give 
an entertainment to the entire Persian army. 
Wine, too, and bread of the choicest kinds were 
prepared for the occasion. When the morrow 
came, and the Persians appeared, he bade them 
recline upon the grass, and enjoy themselves. 
After the feast was over, he requested them to 
tell him "which they liked best, to-day's work, 
or yesterday's ? " They answered that "the con- 
trast was indeed strong: yesterday brought 
them nothing but what was bad, to-day every- 
thing that was good." Cyrus instantly seized 
on their reply, and laid bare his purpose in 
these words: "Ye men of Persia, thus do mat- 
ters stand with you. If you choose to hearken 
to my words, you may enjoy these and ten 
thousand similar delights, and never conde- 
scend to any slavish toil; but if you will not 
hearken, prepare yourselves for unnumbered 
toils as hard as yesterday's. Now therefore fol- 
low my bidding, and be free. For myselt I feel 
that I am destined by Providence to undertake 
your liberation; and you, I am sure, are no whit 
inferior to the Medes in anything, least of all 
in bravery. Revolt, therefore, from Astyages, 
without a moment's delay." 

127. The Persians, who had long been impa- 
tient of the Median dominion, now that they 
had found a leader, were delighted to shake 
off the yoke. Meanwhile Astyages, informed 
of the doings of Cyrus, sent a messenger to 
summon him to his presence. Cyrus replied, 
"Tell Astyages that I shall appear in his pres- 
ence sooner than he will like." Astyages, when 
he received this message, instantly armed all 
his subjects, and, as if God had deprived him 
of his senses, appointed Harpagus to be their 

general, forgetting how greatly he had injured 
him. So when the two armies met and en- 
gaged, only a few of the Medes, who were not 
in the secret, fought; others deserted openly to 
the Persians; while the greater number coun- 
terfeited fear, and fled. 

128. Astyages, on learning the shameful 
flight and dispersion of his army, broke out 
into threats against Cyrus, saying, "Cyrus shall 
nevertheless have no reason to rejoice"; and di- 
rectly he seized the Magian interpreters, who 
had persuaded him to allow Cyrus to escape, 
and impaled them; after which, he armed all 
the Medes who had remained in the city, both 
young and old; and leading them against the 
Persians, fought a battle, in which he was ut- 
terly defeated, his army being destroyed, and 
he himself falling into the enemy's hands. 

129. Harpagus then, seeing him a prisoner, 
came near, and exulted over him with many 
jibes and jeers. Among other cutting speeches 
which he made, he alluded to the supper where 
the flesh of his son was given him to eat, and 
asked Astyages to answer him now, how he en- 
joyed being a slave instead of a king? Astyages 
looked in his face, and asked him in return, 
why he claimed as his own the achievements 
of Cyrus? "Because," said Harpagus, "it was 
my letter which made him revolt, and so I am 
entitled to all the credit of the enterprise." 
Then Astyages declared that "in that case he 
was at once the silliest and the most unjust of 
men: the silliest, if when it was in his power to 
put the crown on his own head, as it must as- 
suredly have been, if the revolt was entirely his 
doing, he had placed it on the head of another; 
the most unjust, if on account of that supper he 
had brought slavery on the Medes. For, sup- 
posing that he was obliged to invest another 
with the kingly power, and not retain it him- 
self, yet justice required that a Mede, rather 
than a Persian, should receive the dignity. 
Now, however, the Medes, who had been no 
parties to the wrong of which he complained, 
were made slaves instead of lords, and slaves 
moreover of those who till recently had been 
their subjects." 

130. Thus after a reign of thirty-five years, 
Astyages lost his crown, and the Medes, in con- 
sequence of his cruelty, were brought under 
the rule of the Persians. Their empire over the 
parts of Asia beyond the Halys had lasted one 
hundred and twenty-eight years, except dur- 
ing the time when the Scythians had the do- 
minion. Afterwards the Medes repented of 
their submission, and revolted from Darius, 




but were defeated in battle, and again reduced 
to subjection. Now, however, in the time of 
Astyages, it was the Persians who under Cyrus 
revolted from the Medes, and became thence- 
forth the rulers of Asia. Cyrus kept Astyages 
at his court during the remainder of his life, 
without doing him any further injury. Such 
then were the circumstances of the birth and 
bringing up of Cyrus, and such were the steps 
by which he mounted the throne. It was at a 
later date that he was attacked by Croesus, and 
overthrew him, as I have related in an earlier 
portion of this history. The overthrow of Croe- 
sus made him master of the whole of Asia. 

131. The customs which I know the Per- 
sians to observe are the following: they have 
no images of the gods, no temples nor altars, 
and consider the use of them a sign of folly. 
This comes, I think, from their not believing 
the gods to have the same nature with men, as 
the Greeks imagine. Their wont, however, is 
to ascend the summits of the loftiest moun- 
tains, and there to offer sacrifice to Jupiter, 
which is the name they give to the whole cir- 
cuit of the firmament. They likewise offer to 
the sun and moon, to the earth, to fire, to 
water, and to the winds. These are the only 
gods whose worship has come down to them 
from ancient times. At a later period they be- 
gan the worship of Urania, which they bor- 
rowed from the Arabians and Assyrians. My- 
litta is the name by which the Assyrians know 
this goddess, whom the Arabians call Alitta, 
and the Persians Mitra. 1 

132. To these gods the Persians offer sacri- 
fice in the following manner: they raise no 
altar, light no fire, pour no libations; there is 
no sound of the flute, no putting on of chaplets, 
no consecrated barley-cake; but the man who 
wishes to sacrifice brings his victim to a spot of 
ground which is pure from pollution, and 
there calls upon the name of the god to whom 
he intends to offer. It is usual to have the tur- 
ban encircled with a wreath, most commonly 
of myrtle. The sacrificer is not allowed to pray 
for blessings on himself alone, but he prays for 
the welfare of the king, and of the whole Per- 
sian people, among whom he is of necessity in- 
cluded. He cuts the victim in pieces, and hav- 
ing boiled the flesh, he lays it out upon the 
tenderest herbage that he can find, trefoil es- 
pecially. When all is ready, one of the Magi 
comes forward and chants a hymn, which they 

1 This identification is altogether a mistake. The 
Persians, like their Vedic brethren, worshipped the 
sun under the name of Mithra. 

say recounts the origin of the gods. It is not 
lawful to offer sacrifice unless there is a Magus 
present. After waiting a short time the sacri- 
ficer carries the flesh of the victim away with 
him, and makes whatever use of it he may 

133. Of all the days in the year, the one 
which they celebrate most is their birthday. It 
is customary to have the board furnished on 
that day with an ampler supply than common. 
The richer Persians cause an ox, a horse, a 
camel, and an ass to be baked whole and so 
served up to them: the poorer classes use in- 
stead the smaller kinds of cattle. They eat little 
solid food but abundance of dessert, which is 
set on table a few dishes at a time; this it is 
which makes them say that "the Greeks, when 
they eat, leave off hungry, having nothing 
worth mention served up to them after the 
meats; whereas, if they had more put before 
them, they would not stop eating." They are 
very fond of wine, and drink it in large quan- 
tities. To vomit or obey natural calls in the 
presence of another is forbidden among them. 
Such are their customs in these matters. 

It is also their general practice to deliberate 
upon affairs of weight when they are drunk; 
and then on the morrow, when they are sober, 
the decision to which they came the night be- 
fore is put before them by the master of the 
house in which it was made; and if it is then 
approved of, they act on it; if not, they set it 
aside. Sometimes, however, they are sober at 
their first deliberation, but in this case they al- 
ways reconsider the matter under the influence 
of wine. 

134. When they meet each other in the 
streets, you may know if the persons meeting 
are of equal rank by the following token: if 
they are, instead of speaking, they kiss each 
other on the lips. In the case where one is a 
little inferior to the other, the kiss is given on 
the cheek; where the difference of rank is 
great, the inferior prostrates himself upon the 
ground. Of nations, they honour most their 
nearest neighbours, whom they esteem next to 
themselves; those who live beyond these they 
honour in the second degree; and so with the 
remainder, the further they are removed, the 
less the esteem in which they hold them. The 
reason is that they look upon themselves as 
very greatly superior in all respects to the rest 
of mankind, regarding others as approaching 
to excellence in proportion as they dwell near- 
er to them; whence it comes to pass that those 
who are the farthest off must be the most de- 



f BOOK i 

graded of mankind. 1 Under the dominion of 
the Medcs, the several nations of the empire 
exercised authority over each other in this or- 
der. The Medes were lords over all, and gov- 
erned the nations upon their borders, who in 
their turn governed the States beyond, who 
likewise bore rule over the nations which ad- 
joined on them. 2 And this is the order which 
the Persians also follow in their distribution of 
honour; for that people, like the Medes, has a 
progressive scale of administration and govern- 

135. There is no nation which so readily 
adopts foreign customs as the Persians. Thus, 
they have taken the dress of the Medes, consid- 
ering it superior to their own; and in war they 
wear the Egyptian breastplate. As soon as they 
hear of any luxury, they instantly make it their 
own: and hence, among other novelties, they 
have learnt unnatural lust from the Greeks. 
Each of them has several wives, and a still 
larger number of concubines. 

136. Next to prowess in arms, it is regarded 
as the greatest proof of manly excellence to be 
the father of many sons. Every year the king 
sends rich gifts to the man who can show the 
largest number: for they hold that number is 
strength. Their sons arc carefully instructed 
from their fifth to their twentieth year, in three 
things alone, to ride, to draw the bow, and to 
speak the truth. Until their fifth year they are 
not allowed to come into the sight of their 
father, but pass their lives with the women. 
This is done that, if the child die young, the 
father may not be afflicted by its loss. 

137. To my mind it is a wise rule, as also 
is the following that the king shall not put 
any one to death for a single iault, and that 
none of the Persians shall visit a single fault in 
a slave with any extreme penalty; but in every 

1 In an early stage of geographical knowledge 
each nation regards itself as occupying the centre 
of the earth. Herodotus tacitly assumes that 
Greece is the centre. 

2 It is quite inconceivable that there should have 
been any such system of government either in 
Media or Persia, as Herodotus here indicates. With 
respect to Persia, we know that the most distant 
satrapies were held as directly of the crown as 
the nearest. The utmost that can be said with truth 
is that in the Persian and Median, as in the Ro- 
man empire, there were three grades; first, the rul- 
ing nation*, secondly, the conquered provinces; 
thirdly, the nations on the frontier, governed by 
their own laws and princes, but owning the su- 
premacy of the imperial power, and reckoned 
among its tributaries. 

case the services of the offender shall be set 
against his misdoings; and, if the latter be 
found to outweigh the former, the aggrieved 
party shall then proceed to punishment. 

138. The Persians maintain that never yet 
did any one kill his own father or mother; but 
in all such cases they are quite sure that, if 
matters were sifted to the bottom, it would be 
found that the child was either a changeling 
or else the fruit of adultery; for it is not likely, 
they say, that the real father should perish by 
the hands of his child. 

139. They hold it unlawful to talk of any- 
thing which it is unlawful to do. The most dis- 
graceful thing in the world, they think, is to 
tell a lie; the next worst, to owe a debt: be- 
cause, among other reasons, the debtor is 
obliged to tell lies. If a Persian has the leprosy 
he is not allowed to enter into a city, or to have 
any dealings with the other Persians; he must, 
they say, have sinned against the sun. Foreign- 
ers attacked by this disorder, are forced to leave 
the country: even white pigeons are often driv- 
en away, as guilty of the same offence. They 
never defile a river with the secretions of their 
bodies, nor even wash their hands in one; nor 
will they allow others to do so, as they have 
a great reverence for rivers. There is another 
peculiarity, which the Persians themselves 
have never noticed, but which has not escaped 
my observation. Their names, which are ex- 
pressive of some bodily or mental excellence, 
all end with the same letter the letter which 
is called San by the Dorians, and Sigma by the 
lonians. Any one who examines will find that 
the Persian names, one and all without excep- 
tion, end with this letter. 3 

140. Thus much I can declare of the Per- 
sians with entire certainty, from my own actual 
knowledge. There is another custom which is 
spoken of with reserve, and not openly, con- 
cerning their dead. It is said that the body of a 
male Persian is never buried, until it has been 
torn either by a dog or a bird of prey. That the 
Magi have this custom is beyond a doubt, for 
they practise it without any concealment. The 
dead bodies are covered with wax, and then 
buried in the ground. 

3 Here Herodotus was again mistaken. The Per- 
sian names of men which terminate with a conso- 
nant end indeed invariably with the letter s, or 
rather sh t as Kurush (Cyrus), Daryavush (Dari- 
us). But a large number of Persian names of men 
were pronounced with a vowel termination, not 
expressed in writing, and in these the last conso- 
nant might be almost any letter. 



The Magi are a very peculiar race, different 
entirely from the Egyptian priests, and indeed 
from all other men whatsoever. The Egyptian 
priests make it a point of religion not to kill 
any live animals except those which they oiler 
in sacrifice. The Magi, on the contrary, kill ani- 
mals of all kinds with their own hands, ex- 
cepting dogs and men. They even seem to take 
a delight in the employment, and kill, as read- 
ily as they do other animals, ants and snakes, 
and such like flying or creeping things. How- 
ever, since this has always been their custom, 
let them keep to it. I return to my former nar- 

141. Immediately after the conquest of 
Lydia by the Persians, the Ionian and /Rolian 
Greeks sent ambassadors to Cyrus at Sardis, 
and prayed to become his lieges on the footing 
which they had occupied under Croesus. Cyrus 
listened attentively to their proposals, and an- 
swered them by a fable. "There was a certain 
piper," he said, "who was walking one day by 
the seaside, when he espied some fish; so he be- 
gan to pipe to them, imagining they would 
come out to him upon the land. But as he 
found at last that his hope was vain, he took a 
net, and enclosing a great draught of fishes, 
drew them ashore. The fish then began to leap 
and dance; but the piper said, 'Cease your 
dancing now, as you did not choose to come 
and dance when I piped to you.' " Cyrus gave 
this answer to the lonians and Cohans, be- 
cause, when he urged them by his messengers 
to revolt from Croesus, they refused; but now, 
when his work was done, they came to offer 
their allegiance. It was in anger, therefore, 
that he made them this reply. The lonians, on 
hearing it, set to work to fortify their towns, 
and held meetings at the Panionmm, which 
were attended by all excepting the Milesians, 
with whom Cyrus had concluded a separate 
treaty, by which he allowed them the terms 
they had formerly obtained from Croesus. The 
other lonians resolved, with one accord, to send 
ambassadors to Sparta to implore assistance. 

142. Now the lonians of Asia, who meet at 
the Panionium, have built their cities in a re- 
gion where the air and climate are the most 
beautiful in the whole world: for no other re- 
gion is equally blessed with Ionia, * neither 
above it nor below it, nor east nor west of it. 
For in other countries either the climate is over 
cold and damp, or else the heat and drought 
are sorely oppressive. The lonians do not all 
speak the same language, but use in different 
places four different dialects. Towards the 

south their first city is Miletus, next to which 
lie Myus and Priene; all these three are in 
Caria and have the same dialect. Their cities 
in Lydia are the following: Ephesus, Colo- 
phon, Lebcdus, Teos, Clazomenae, and Pho- 
ca. The inhabitants of these towns have none 
of the peculiarities of speech which belong to 
the three first-named cities, but use a dialect of 
their own. There remain three other Ionian 
towns, two situate in isles, namely, Samos and 
Chios; and one upon the mainland, which is 
Erythra?. Of these Chios and Erythrx have the 
same dialect, while Samos possesses a language 
peculiar to itself. Such are the four varieties of 
which I spoke. 

143. Of the lonians at this period, one peo- 
ple, the Milesians, were in no danger of attack, 
as Cyrus had received them into alliance. The 
islanders also had as yet nothing to fear, since 
Phoenicia was still independent of Persia, and 
the Persians themselves were not a seafaring 
people. The Milesians had separated from the 
common cause solely on account of the ex- 
treme weakness of the lonians: for, feeble as 
the power of the entire Hellenic race was at 
that time, of all its tribes the Ionic was by far 
the feeblest and least esteemed, not possessing 
a single State of any mark excepting Athens. 
The Athenians and most of the other Ionic 
States over the world, went so far in their dis- 
like of the name as actually to lay it aside; and 
even at the present day the greater number of 
them seem to me to be ashamed of it. But the 
twelve cities in Asia have always gloried in the 
appellation; they gave the temple which they 
built for themselves the name of the Panio- 
nium, and decreed that it should not be open 
to any of the other Ionic States; no State, 
however, except Smyrna, has craved admission 
to it. 

144. In the same way the Dorians of the re- 
gion which is now called the Pentapolis, but 
which was formerly known as the Doric Hexa- 
polis, exclude all their Dorian neighbours from 
their temple, theTriopium: nay, they have even 
gone so far as to shut out from it certain of 
their own body who were guilty of an offence 
against the customs of the place. In the games 
which were anciently celebrated in honour of 
the Triopian Apollo, the prizes given to the 
victors were tripods of brass; and the rule was 
that these tripods should not be carried away 
from the temple, but should then and there be 
dedicated to the god. Now a man of Halicar- 
nassus, whose name was Agasicles, being de- 
clared victor in the games, in open contempt of 



[BOOK i 

the law, took the tripod home to his own house 
and there hung it against the wall. As a pun- 
ishment for this fault, the five other cities, Lin- 
dus, lalyssus, Cameirus, Cos, and Cnidus, de- 
prived the sixth city, Halicarnassus, of the 
right of entering the temple. 

145. The lonians founded twelve cities in 
Asia, and refused to enlarge the number, on ac- 
count (as I imagine) of their having been di- 
vided into twelve States when they lived in the 
Peloponnese; just as the Achaeans, who drove 
them out, are at the present day. The first city 
of the Achaeans after Sicyon, is Pellene, next to 
which are /Egeira, ^Egae upon the Crathis, a 
stream which is never dry, and from which the 
Italian Crathis received its name, Bura, He- 
lice where the lonians took refuge on their 
defeat by the Achxan invaders yEgium, Rhy- 
pes, Patreis, Phareis, Olenus on the Peirus, 
which is a large river Dym^ and Tritaeeis, 
all sea-port towns except the last two, which lie 
up the country. 

146. These arc the twelve divisions of what 
is now Achaca, and was formerly Ionia; and it 
was owing to their coming from a country so 
divided that the lonians, on reaching Asia, 
founded their twelve States: for it is the height 
of folly to maintain that these lonians are more 
Ionian than the rest, or in any respect better 
born, since the truth is that no small portion of 
them were Abantians from Euboea, who are 
not even lonians in name; and, besides, there 
were mixed up with the emigration Minyae 
from Orchomenus, Cadmeians, Dryopians, 
Phocians from the several cities of Phocis, Mo- 
lossians, Arcadian Pelasgi, Dorians from Epi- 
daurus, and many other distinct tribes. Even 
those who came from the Prytancum of Ath- 
ens, and reckon themselves the purest lonians 
of all, brought no wives with them to the new 
country, but married Carian girls, whose fa- 
thers they had slain. Hence these women made 
a law, which they bound themselves by an oath 
to observe, and which they handed down to 
their daughters after them, "That none should 
ever sit at meat with her husband, or call him 
by his name"; because the invaders slew their 
fathers, their husbands, and their sons, and 
then forced them to become their wives. It was 
at Miletus that these events took place. 

147. The kings, too, whom they set over 
them, were either Lycians, of the blood of 
Glaucus, son of Hippolochus, or Pylian Cau- 
cons of the blood of Codrus, son of Mel an thus; 
or else from both those families. But since these 
lonians set more store by the name than any of 

the others, let them pass for the pure-bred lon- 
ians; though truly all are lonians who have 
their origin from Athens, and keep the Apa- 
turia. This is a festival which all the lonians 
celebrate, except the Ephesians and the Colo- 
phonians, whom a certain act of bloodshed ex- 
cludes from it. 

148. The Panionium is a place in Mycale, 
facing the north, which was chosen by the 
common voice of the lonians and made sacred 
to Heliconian Neptune. Mycale itself is a pro- 
montory of the mainland, stretching out west- 
ward towards Samos, in which the lonians as- 
semble from all their States to keep the feast 
of the Panionia. The names of festivals, not 
only among the lonians but among all the 
Greeks, end, like the Persian proper names, in 
one and the same letter. 

149. The above-mentioned, then, are the 
twelve towns of the lonians. The ALolic cities 
are the following: Cyme, called also Phri- 
conis, Larissa, Neonteichus, Temnus, Cilia, 
Notium, ^Egiroessa, Pitane, jEgaea.-, Mynna, 
and Gryneia. These are the eleven ancient ci- 
ties of the ^olians. Originally, indeed, they 
had twelve cities upon the mainland, like the 
lonians, but the lonians deprived them of 
Smyrna, one of the number. The soil of JEolis 
is better than that of Ionia, but the climate is 
less agreeable. 

150. The following is the way in which the 
loss of Smyrna happened. Certain men of Col- 
ophon had been engaged in a sedition there, 
and being the weaker party, were driven by the 
others into banishment. The Smyrnaeans re- 
ceived the fugitives, who, after a time, watch- 
ing their opportunity, while the inhabitants 
were celebrating a feast to Bacchus outside the 
walls, shut to the gates, and so got possession of 
the town. The Cohans of the other States came 
to their aid, and terms were agreed on between 
the parties, the lonians consenting to give up 
all the moveables, and the ^Eolians making a 
surrender of the place. The expelled Smyrnae- 
ans were distributed among the other States of 
the ^Bolians, and were everywhere admitted to 

151. These, then, were all the ^Eolic cities 
upon the mainland, with the exception of those 
about Mount Ida, which made no part of this 
confederacy. As for the islands, Lesbos contains 
five cities. Arisba, the sixth, was taken by the 
Methymnaeans, their kinsmen, and the inhabi- 
tants reduced to slavery. Tenedos contains one 
city, and there is another which is built on what 
are called the Hundred Isles. The ^Eolians of 




Lesbos and Tencdos, like the Ionian islanders, 
had at this time nothing to fear. The other ^Eo- 
lians decided in their common assembly to fol- 
low the lonians, whatever course they should 

152. When the deputies of the lonians and 
Cohans, who had journeyed with all speed to 
Sparta, reached the city, they chose one of their 
number, Pythermus, a Phocacan, to be their 
spokesman. In order to draw together as large 
an audience as possible, he clothed himself in 
a purple garment, and so attired stood forth to 
speak. In a long discourse he besought the Spar- 
tans to come to the assistance of his country- 
men, but they were not to be persuaded, and 
voted against sending any succour. The depu- 
ties accordingly went their way, while the La- 
cedaemonians, notwithstanding the refusal 
which they had given to the prayer of the depu- 
tation, despatched a penteconter to the Asiatic 
coast with certain Spartans on board, for the 
purpose, as I think, of watching Cyrus and Io- 
nia. These men, on their arrival at Phocaea, sent 
to Sardis Lacrines, the most distinguished of 
their number, to prohibit Cyrus, in the name of 
the Lacedaemonians, from offering molestation 
to any city of Greece, since they would not al- 
low it. 

153. Cyrus is said, on hearing the speech of 
the herald, to have asked some Greeks who 
were standing by, "Who these Lacedaemonians 
were, and what was their number, that they 
dared to send him such a notice?" When he 
had received their reply, he turned to the Spar- 
tan herald and said, "I have never yet been 
afraid of any men, who have a set place in the 
middle of their city, where they come together 
to cheat each other and forswear themselves. If 
I live, the Spartans shall have troubles enough 
of their own to talk of, without concerning 
themselves about the lonians." Cyrus intended 
these words as a reproach against all the 
Greeks, because of their having market-places 
where they buy and sell, which is a custom un- 
known to the Persians, who never make pur- 
chases in open marts, and indeed have not in 
their whole country a single market-place. 

After this interview Cyrus quitted Sardis, 
leaving the city under the charge of Tabalus, a 
Persian, but appointing Pactyas, a native, to 
collect the treasure belonging to Croesus and 
the other Lydians, and bring it after him. Cy- 
rus himself proceeded towards Agbatana, car- 
rying Croesus along with him, not regarding 
the lonians as important enough to be his im- 
mediate object. Larger designs were in his 

mind. He wished to war in person against Ba- 
bylon, the Bactrians, the Sacae, and Egypt; he 
therefore determined to assign to one of his 
generals the task of conquering the lonians. 

154. No sooner, however, was Cyrus gone 
from Sardis than Pactyas induced his country- 
men to rise in open revolt against him and his 
deputy Tabalus. With the vast treasures at his 
disposal he then went down to the sea, and cm- 
ployed them in hiring mercenary troops, while 
at the same time he engaged the people of the 
coast to enrol themselves in his army. He then 
marched upon Sardis, where he besieged Taba- 
lus, who shut himself up in the citadel. 

155. When Cyrus, on his way to Agbatana, 
received these tidings, he returned to Croesus 
and said, "Where will all this end, Croesus, 
thinkest thou? It seemeth that these Lydians 
will not cease to cause trouble both to them- 
selves and others. I doubt me if it were not best 
to sell them all for slaves. Methinks what I 
have now done is as if a man were to 'kill the 
father and then spare the child.' Thou, who 
wert something more than a father to thy 
people, I have seized and carried off, and to 
that people I have entrusted their city. Can I 
then feel surprise at their rebellion?" Thus did 
Cyrus open to Croesus his thoughts; whereat 
the latter, full of alarm lest Cyrus should lay 
Sardis in ruins, replied as follows: "Oh! my 
king, thy words are reasonable; but do not, I 
beseech thee, give full vent to thy anger, nor 
doom to destruction an ancient city, guiltless 
alike of the past and of the present trouble. I 
caused the one, and in my own person now pay 
the forfeit. Pactyas has caused the other, he to 
whom thou gavest Sardis in charge; let him 
bear the punishment. Grant, then, forgiveness 
to the Lydians, and to make sure of their never 
rebelling against thee, or alarming thee more, 
send and forbid them to keep any weapons of 
war, command them to wear tunics under their 
cloaks, and to put buskins upon their legs, and 
make them bring up their sons to cithern-play- 
ing, harping, and shop-keeping. So wilt thou 
soon see them become women instead of men, 
and there will be no more fear of their revolt- 
ing from thee." 

156. Croesus thought the Lydians would 
even so be better off than if they were sold for 
slaves, and therefore gave the above advice to 
Cyrus, knowing that, unless he brought for- 
ward some notable suggestion, he would not 
be able to persuade him to alter his mind. He 
was likewise afraid lest, after escaping the dan- 
ger which now pressed, the Lydians at some fu- 



[ BOOK i 

turc time might revolt from the Persians and 
so bring themselves to ruin. The advice pleased 
Cyrus, who consented to forego his anger and 
do as Croesus had said. Thereupon he sum- 
moned to his presence a certain Mede, Mazares 
by name, and charged him to issue orders to 
the Lydians in accordance with the terms of 
Cra'sus' discourse. Further, he commanded 
him to sell for slaves all who had joined the 
Lydians in their attack upon Sardis, and above 
aught else to be sure that he brought Pactyas 
with him alive on his return. Having given 
these orders Cyrus continued his journey to- 
wards the Persian territory. 

157. Pactyas, when news came of the near 
approach of the army sent against him, fled in 
terror to Cyme. Mazares, therefore, the Median 
general, who had marched on Sardis with a de- 
tachment of the army of Cyrus, finding on his 
arrival that Pactyas and his troops were gone, 
immediately entered the town. And first of all 
he forced the Lydians to obey the orders of his 
master, and change (as they did from that 
time) their entire manner of living. Next, he 
despatched messengers to Cyme, and required 
to have Pactyas delivered up to him. On this 
the Cymxans resolved to send to Branchidx 
and ask the advice of the god. Branchidx is 
situated in the territory ot Miletus, above the 
port of Panormus. There was an oracle there, 
established in very ancient times, which both 
the lonians and /Eolians were wont often to 

158. Hither therefore the Cymxans sent 
their deputies to make inquiry at the shrine, 
"What the gods would like them to do with 
the Lydian, Pactyas?" The oracle told them, in 
reply, to give him up to the Persians. With this 
answer the messengers returned, and the peo- 
ple of Cyme* were ready to surrender him ac- 
cordingly; but as they were preparing to do so, 
Anstodicus, son of Heraclides, a citizen of dis- 
tinction, hindered them. He declared that he 
distrusted the response, and believed that the 
messengers had reported it falsely; until at last 
another embassy, of which Anstodicus himself 
made part, was despatched, to repeat the for- 
mer inquiry concerning Pactyas. 

159. On their arrival at the shrine of the 
god, Anstodicus, speaking on behalf of the 
whole body, thus addressed the oracle: "Oh! 
king, Pactyas the Lydian, threatened by the 
Persians with a violent death, has come to us 
for sanctuary, and lo, they ask him at our 
hands, calling upon our nation to deliver him 
up. Now, though we greatly dread the Persian 

power, yet have we not been bold to give up 
our suppliant, till we have certain knowledge 
of thy mind, what thou wouldst have us to do." 
The oracle thus questioned gave the same an- 
swer as before, bidding them surrender Pactyas 
to the Persians; whereupon Anstodicus, who 
had come prepared for such an answer, pro- 
ceeded to make the circuit of the temple, and 
to take all the nests of young sparrows and 
other birds that he could find about the build- 
ing. As he was thus employed, a voice, it is 
said, came forth from the inner sanctuary, ad- 
dressing Aristodicus in these words: "Most im- 
pious of men, what is this thou hast the face to 
do? Dost thou tear my suppliants from my 
temple?" Anstodicus, at no loss for a reply, re- 
joined, "Oh, king, art thou so ready to protect 
thy suppliants, and dost thou command the 
Cymxans to give up a suppliant?" "Yes," re- 
turned the god, "I do command it, that so for 
the impiety you may the sooner perish, and 
not come here again to consult my oracle about 
the surrender of suppliants." 

1 60. On the receipt of this answer the Cy- 
mxans, unwilling to bring the threatened de- 
struction on themselves by giving up the man, 
and afraid of having to endure a siege if they 
continued to harbour him, sent Pactyas away 
to Mytilene. On this Mazarcs despatched en- 
voys to the Mytilenxans to demand the fugitive 
of them, and they were preparing to give him 
up for a reward (I cannot say with certainty 
how large, as the bargain was not completed), 
when the Cymxans, hearing what the Myti- 
lenxans were about, sent a vessel to Lesbos, and 
conveyed away Pactyas to Chios. From hence 
it was that he was surrendered. The Chians 
dragged him from the temple of Minerva Po- 
liuchus and gave him up to the Persians, on 
condition of receiving the district of Atarneus, 
a tract of Mysia opposite to Lesbos, as the price 
of the surrender. Thus did Pactyas fall into the 
hands of his pursuers, who kept a strict watch 
upon him that they might be able to produce 
him before Cyrus. For a long time afterwards 
none of the Chians would use the barley of 
Atarneus to place on the heads of victims, or 
make sacrificial cakes of the corn grown there, 
but the whole produce of the land was exclud- 
ed from all their temples. 

161. Meanwhile Mazares, after he had re- 
covered Pactyas from the Chians, made war 
upon those who had taken part in the attack 
on Tabalus, and in the first place took Priene* 
and sold the inhabitants for slaves, after which 
he overran the whole plain of the Mxander and 

i 57 -i66] 



the district of Magnesia, both of which he gave 
up for pillage to the soldiery. He then suddenly 
sickened and died. 

162. Upon his death Harpagus was sent 
down to the coast to succeed to his command. 
He also was of the race of the Medes, being the 
man whom the Median king, Astyages, feasted 
at the unholy banquet, and who lent his aid to 
place Cyrus upon the throne. Appointed by Cy- 
rus to conduct the war in these parts, he en- 
tered Ionia, and took the cities by means of 
mounds. Forcing the enemy to shut themselves 
up within their defences, he heaped mounds of 
earth against their walls, and thus carried the 
towns. Phocaea was the city against which he 
directed his first attack. 

163. Now the Phocaeans were the first of the 
Greeks who performed long voyages, and it 
was they who made the Greeks acquainted 
with the Adriatic and with Tyrrhenia, with 
Iberia, and the city of Tartessus. The vessel 
which they used in their voyages was not the 
round-built merchant-ship, but the long pente- 
conter. On their arrival at Tartessus, the king 
of the country, whose name was Arganthonius, 
took a liking to them. This monarch reigned 
over the Tartessians for eighty years, and lived 
to be a hundred and twenty years old. He re- 
garded the Phocaeans with so much favour as, 
at first, to beg them to quit Ionia and settle in 
whatever part of his country they liked. After- 
wards, finding that he could not prevail upon 
them to agree to this, and hearing that the 
Mcde was growing great in their neighbour- 
hood, he gave them money to build a wall 
about their town, and certainly he must have 
given it with a bountiful hand, for the town is 
many furlongs in circuit, and the wall is built 
entirely of great blocks of stone skilfully fitted 
together. The wall, then, was built by his aid. 

164. Harpagus, having advanced against 
the Phocaeans with his army, laid siege to their 
city, first, however, offering them terms. "It 
would content him," he said, "if the Phocae- 
ans would agree to throw down one of their 
battlements, and dedicate one dwelling-house 
to the king." The Phocaeans, sorely vexed at 
the thought of becoming slaves, asked a single 
day to deliberate on the answer they should re- 
turn, and besought Harpagus during that day 
to draw off his forces from the walls. Harpagus 
replied, "that he understood well enough what 
they were about to do, but nevertheless he 
would grant their request." Accordingly the 
troops were withdrawn, and the Phocaeans 
forthwith took advantage of their absence to 

launch their penteconters, and put on board 
their wives and children, their household 
goods, and even the images of their gods, with 
all the votive offerings from the fanes, except 
the paintings and the works in stone or brass, 
which were left behind. With the rest they em- 
barked, and putting to sea, set sail for Chios. 
The Persians, on their return, took possession 
of an empty town. 

165. Arrived at Chios, the Phocxans made 
offers for the purchase of the islands called the 
CEnuss#, but the Chians refused to part with 
them, fearing lest the Phocaeans should estab- 
lish a factory there, and exclude their mer- 
chants from the commerce of those seas. On 
their refusal, the Phocaeans, as Arganthonius 
was now dead, made up their minds to sail to 
Cyrnus (Corsica), where, twenty years before, 
following the direction of an oracle, they had 
founded a city, which was called Alalia. Before 
they set out, however, on this voyage, they 
sailed once more to Phocaea, and surprising the 
Persian troops appointed by Harpagus to gar- 
rison the town, put them all to the sword. After 
this they laid the heaviest curses on the man 
who should draw back and forsake the arma- 
ment; and having dropped a heavy mass of 
iron into the sea, swore never to return to Pho- 
caea till that mass reappeared upon the surface. 
Nevertheless, as they were preparing to depart 
for Cyrnus, more than half of their number 
were seized with such sadness and so great a 
longing to see once more their city and their 
ancient homes, that they broke the oath by 
which they had bound themselves and sailed 
back to Phocara. 

1 66. The rest of the Phocaeans, who kept 
their oath, proceeded without stopping upon 
their voyage, and when they came to Cyrnus 
established themselves along with the earlier 
settlers at Alalia and built temples in the place. 
For five years they annoyed their neighbours 
by plundering and pillaging on all sides, until 
at length the Carthaginians and Tyrrhenians 
leagued against them, and sent each a fleet of 
sixty ships to attack the town. The Phocaeans, 
on their part, manned all their vessels, sixty in 
number, and met their enemy on the Sardinian 
sea. In the engagement which followed the 
Phocaeans were victorious, but their success 
was only a sort of Cadmeian victory. 1 They 
lost forty ships in the battle, and the twenty 
which remained came out of the engagement 
with beaks so bent and blunted as to be no 

1 A Cadmeian victory was one frpm which the 
victor received more hurt than profit. 



[BOOK i 

longer serviceable. The Phocaeans therefore 
sailed back again to Alalia, and taking their 
wives and children on board, with such por- 
tion of their goods and chattels as the vessels 
could bear, bade adieu to Cyrnus and sailed to 

167. The Carthaginians and Tyrrhenians, 
who had got into their hands many more than 
the Phocitans from among the crews of the 
forty vessels that were destroyed, landed their 
captives upon the coast after the fight, and 
stoned them all to death. Afterwards, when 
sheep, or oxen, or even men of the district of 
Agylla passed by the spot where the murdered 
Phocxans lay, their bodies became distorted, or 
they were seized with palsy, or they lost the 
use of some of their limbs. On this the people 
of Agylla sent to Delphi to ask the oracle how 
they might expiate their sin. The answer of the 
Pythoness required them to institute the cus- 
tom, which they still observe, of honouring the 
dead Phocxans with magnificent funeral rites, 
and solemn games, both gymmc and equestri- 
an. Such, then, was the fate that befell the Pho- 
cacan prisoners. The other Phocarans, who had 
fled to Rhegium, became after a while the 
founders of the city called Vela, in the district 
of (Enotria. This city they colonised, upon the 
showing of a man of Posidonia, who suggested 
that the oracle had not meant to bid them set 
up a town in Cyrnus the island, but set up the 
worship of Cyrnus the hero. 

168. Thus fared it with the men of the city 
of in [onia. They of Teos did and suf- 
fered almost the same; for they too, when Har- 
pagus had raised his mound to the height of 
their defences, took ship, one and all, and sail- 
ing across the sea to Thrace, founded there the 
city of Abdcra. The site was one which Ti- 
mesius of Clazomenx had previously tried to 
colonise, but without any lasting success, for he 
was expelled by the Thracians. Still the Teians 
of Abdcra worship him to this day as a hero. 

169. Of all the lonians these two states alone, 
rather than submit to slavery, forsook their 
fatherland. The others (I except Miletus) re- 
sisted Harpagus no less bravely than those who 
fled their country, and performed many feats 
of arms, each fighting in their own defence, 
but one after another they suffered defeat; the 
cities were taken, and the inhabitants submit- 
ted, remaining in their respective countries, 
and obeying the behests of their new lords. Mi- 
letus, as I have already mentioned, had made 
terms with Cyrus, and so continued at peace. 
Thus was continental Ionia once more reduced 

to servitude; and when the lonians of the is- 
lands saw their brethren upon the mainland 
subjugated, they also, dreading the like, gave 
themselves up to Cyrus. 

170. It was while the lonians were in this 
distress, but still, amid it all, held their meet- 
ings, as of old, at the Panionium, that Bias of 
Priene, who was present at the festival, recom- 
mended (as I am informed) a project of the 
very highest wisdom, which would, had it been 
embraced, have enabled the lonians to become 
the happiest and most flourishing of the 
Greeks. He exhorted them "to join in one body, 
set sail for Sardinia, and there found a single 
Pan-Ionic city; so they would escape from slav- 
ery and rise to great fortune, being masters of 
the largest island in the world, exercising do- 
minion even beyond its bounds; whereas if 
they stayed in Ionia, he saw no prospect of their 
ever recovering their lost freedom." Such was 
the counsel which Bias gave the lonians in 
their affliction. Before their misfortunes began, 
Thales, a man of Miletus, of Phoenician de- 
scent, had recommended a different plan. He 
counselled them to establish a single seat of 
government, and pointed out Teos as the fittest 
place for it; "for that," he said, "was the centre 
of Ionia. Their other cities might still continue 
to enjoy their own laws, just as if they were in- 
dependent states." This also was good advice. 

171. After conquering the lonians, Harpa- 
gus proceeded to attack the Carians, the Cau- 
nians, and the Lycians. The lonians and /oh- 
ans were forced to serve in his army. Now, of 
the above nations the Carians are a race who 
came into the mainland from the islands. In 
ancient times they were subjects of king Minos, 
and went by the name of Leleges, dwelling 
among the isles, and, so far as I have been able 
to push my inquiries, never liable to give trib- 
ute to any man. They served on board the ships 
of king Minos whenever he required; and thus, 
as he was a great conqueror and prospered in 
his wars, the Carians were in his day the most 
famous by far of all the nations of the earth. 
They likewise were the inventors of three 
things, the use of which was borrowed from 
them by the Greeks; they were the first to fas- 
ten crests on helmets and to put devices on 
shields, and they also invented handles for 
shields. In the earlier times shields were with- 
out handles, and their wearers managed them 
by the aid of a leathern thong, by which they 
were slung round the neck and left shoulder. 
Long after the time of Minos, the Carians were 
driven from the islands by the lonians and 




Dorians, and so settled upon the mainland. 
The above is the account which the Cretans 
give of the Carians: the Carians themselves say 
very differently. They maintain that they are 
the aboriginal inhabitants of the part of the 
mainland where they now dwell, and never 
had any other name than that which they still 
bear; and in proof of this they show an ancient 
temple of Carian Jove in the country of the 
Mylasians, in which the Mysians and Lydians 
have the right of worshipping, as brother races 
to the Carians: for Lydus and Mysus, they say, 
were brothers of Car. These nations, therefore, 
have the aforesaid right; but such as are of a 
different race, even though they have come to 
use the Carian tongue, are excluded from this 

172. The Caumans, in my judgment, arc ab- 
originals; but by their own account they came 
from Crete. In their language, either they have 
approximated to the Carians, or the Carians to 
them on this point I cannot speak with cer- 
tainty. In their customs, however, they differ 
greatly from the Carians, and not only so, but 
from all other men. They think it a most hon- 
ourable practice for friends or persons of the 
same age, whether they be men, women, or 
children, to meet together in large companies, 
for the purpose of drinking wine. Again, on 
one occasion they determined that they would 
no longer make use of the foreign temples 
which had been long established among them, 
but would worship their own old ancestral 
gods alone. Then their whole youth took arms, 
and striking the air with their spears, marched 
to the Calyndic frontier, declaring that they 
were driving out the foreign gods. 

173. The Lycians are in good truth anciently 
from Crete; which island, in former clays, was 
wholly peopled with barbarians. A quarrel 
arising there between the two sons of Europa, 
Sarpedon and Minos, as to which of them 
should be king, Minos, whose party prevailed, 
drove Sarpedon and his followers into banish- 
ment. The exiles sailed to Asia, and landed on 
the Milyan territory. Milyas was the ancient 
name of the country now inhabited by the Ly- 
cians: the Milyac of the present day were, in 
those times, called Solymi. So long as Sarpedon 
reigned, his followers kept the name which 
they brought with them from Crete, and were 
called Termilae, as the Lycians still are by those 
who live in their neighbourhood. But after Ly- 
cus, the son of Pandion, banished from Athens 
by his brother ^geus, had found a refuge with 
Sarpedon in the country of these Termilae, they 

came, in course of time, to be called from him 
Lycians. Their customs are partly Cretan, part- 
ly Carian. They have, however, one singular 
custom in which they differ from every other 
nation in the world. They take the mother's 
and not the father's name. Ask a Lyaan who 
he is, and he answers by giving his own name, 
that of his mother, and so on in the female line. 
Moreover, if a free woman marry a man who 
is a slave, their children are full citizens; but if 
a free man marry a foreign woman, or live 
with a concubine, even though he be the first 
person in the State, the children foricit all the 
rights of citizenship. 

174. Ot these nations, the Carians submitted 
to Harpagus without pertorming any brilliant 
exploits. Nor did the Greeks who dwelt in 
Caria behave with any greater gallantry. 
Among them were the Cnidians, colonists from 
Laceda:mon, who occupy a district facing the 
sea, which is called Triopium. This region ad- 
joins upon the Bybassian Chersonese; and, ex- 
cept a very small space, is surrounded by the 
sea, being bounded on the north by the Cera- 
mic Gulf, and on the south by the channel to- 
wards the islands of Syme and Rhodes. While 
Harpagus was engaged in the conquest of Io- 
nia, the Cmdians, wishing to make their coun- 
try an island, attempted to cut through this nar- 
row neck of land, which was no more than five 
furlongs across from sea to sea. Their whole ter- 
ritory lay inside the isthmus; tor where Cmdia 
ends towards the mainland, the isthmus begins 
which they were now seeking to cut through. 
The work had been commenced, and many 
hands were employed upon it, when it was ob- 
served that there seemed to be something un- 
usual and unnatural in the number ol wounds 
that the workmen received, especially about 
their eyes, from the splintering of the rock. The 
Cnidians, therefore, sent to Delphi, to inquire 
what it was that hindered their efforts; and re- 
ceived, according to their own account, the fol- 
lowing answer from the oracle: 

Fence not the isthmus off, nor dig it through 
Jove would have made an island, had he wished. 

So the Cnidians ceased digging, and when 
Harpagus advanced with his army, they gave 
themselves up to him without striking a blow. 

175. Above Halicarnassus, and further from 
the coast, were the Pedasians. With this people, 
when any evil is about to befall either them- 
selves or their neighbours, the priestess of Mi- 
nerva grows an ample beard. Three tunes has 
this marvel happened. They alone, of all the 




dwellers in Caria, resisted Harpagus for a 
while, and gave him much trouble, maintain- 
ing themselves in a certain mountain called 
Lida, which they had fortified; but in course of 
time they also were forced to submit. 

176. When Harpagus, after these successes, 
led his forces into the Xanthian plain, the Ly- 
cians of Xanthus went out to meet him in the 
field: though but a small band against a numer- 
ous host, they engaged in battle, and performed 
many glorious exploits. Overpowered at last, 
and forced within their walls, they collected 
into the citadel their wives and children, all 
their treasures, and their slaves; and having so 
done, fired the building, and burnt it to the 
ground. After this, they bound themselves to- 
gether by dreadful oaths, and sallying forth 
against the enemy, died sword in hand, not 
one escaping. Those Lycians who now claim to 
be Xanthians, are foreign immigrants, except 
eighty families, who happened to be absent 
from the country, and so survived the others. 
Thus was Xanthus taken by Harpagus, and 
Caunus fell in like manner into his hands; for 
the Caunians in the main followed the exam- 
ple of the Lycians. 

177. While the lower parts of Asia were in 
this way brought under by Harpagus, Cyrus in 
person subjected the upper regions, conquering 
every nation, and not suffering one to escape. 
Of these conquests I shall pass by the greater 
portion, and give an account of those only 
which gave him the most trouble, and are the 
worthiest of mention. When he had brought all 
the rest of the continent under his sway, he 
made war on the Assyrians. 

1 78. Assyria possesses a vast number of great 
cities, whereof the most renowned and strong- 
est at this time was Babylon, whither, after the 
fall of Nineveh, the seat of government had 
been removed. The following is a description 
of the place: The city stands on a broad 
plain, and is an exact square, a hundred and 
twenty furlongs in length each way, so that the 
entire circuit is four hundred and eighty fur- 
longs. While such is its size, in magnificence 
there is no other city that approaches to it. It is 
surrounded, in the first place, by a broad and 
deep moat, full of water, behind which rises a 
wall fifty royal cubits in width, and two hun- 
dred in height. (The royal cubit is longer by 
three fingers' breadth than the common cubit.) 

179. And here I may not omit to tell the use 
to which the mould dug out of the great moat 
was turned, nor the manner wherein the wall 
was wrought. As fast as they dug the moat the 

soil which they got from the cutting was made 
into bricks, and when a sufficient number were 
completed they baked the bricks in kilns. Then 
they set to building, and began with bricking 
the borders of the moat, after which they pro- 
ceeded to construct the wall itself, using 
throughout for their cement hot bitumen, and 
interposing a layer of wattled reeds at every 
thirtieth course of the bricks. On the top, along 
the edges of the wall, they constructed build- 
ings of a single chamber facing one another, 
leaving between them room for a four-horse 
chariot to turn. In the circuit of the wall are a 
hundred gates, all of brass, with brazen lintels 
and side-posts. The bitumen used in the work 
was brought to Babylon from the Is, a small 
stream which flows into the Euphrates at the 
point where the city of the same name stands, 
eight days' journey from Babylon. Lumps of 
bitumen are found in great abundance in this 

1 80. The city is divided into two portions by 
the river which runs through the midst of it. 
This river is the Euphrates, a broad, deep, 
swift stream, which rises in Armenia, and emp- 
ties itself into the Erythraean sea. The city wall 
is brought clown on both sides to the edge of 
the stream: thence, from the corners of the 
wall, there is carried along each bank of the 
river a fence of burnt bricks. The houses are 
mostly three and four stories high; the streets 
all run in straight lines, not only those parallel 
to the river, but also the cross streets which 
lead down to the water-side. At the river end 
of these cross streets are low gates in the fence 
that skirts the stream, which are, like the great 
gates in the outer wall, of brass, and open on 
the water. 

181. The outer wall is the main defence of 
the city. There is, however, a second inner 
wall, of less thickness than the first, but very 
little inferior to it in strength. The centre of 
each division of the town was occupied by a 
fortress. In the one stood the palace of the 
kings, surrounded by a wall of great strength 
and size: in the other was the sacred precinct 
of Jupiter Belus, a square enclosure two fur- 
longs each way, with gates of solid brass; 
which was also remaining in my time. In the 
middle of the precinct there was a tower of 
solid masonry, a furlong in length and breadth, 
upon which was raised a second tower, and on 
that a third, and so on up to eight. The ascent 
to the top is on the outside, by a path which 
winds round all the towers. When one is about 
half-way up, one finds a resting-place and seats, 




where persons are wont to sit some time on 
their way to the summit. On the topmost tower 
there is a spacious temple, and inside the tem- 
ple stands a couch of unusual size, richly 
adorned, with a golden table by its side. There 
is no statue of any kind set up in the place, nor 
is the chamber occupied of nights by any one 
but a single native woman, who, as the Chal- 
daeans, the priests of this god, affirm, is chosen 
for himself by the deity out of all the women 
of the land. 

182. They also declare but I for my part do 
not credit it that the god comes down in per- 
son into this chamber, and sleeps upon the 
couch. This is like the story told by the Egyp- 
tians of what takes place in their city of Thebes, 
where a woman always passes the night in 
the temple of the Theban Jupiter. 1 In each case 
the woman is said to be debarred all inter- 
course with men. It is also like the custom of 
Patara, in Lycia, where the priestess who de- 
livers the oracles, during the time that she is 
so employed for at Patara there is not always 
an oracle is shut up in the temple every night. 

183. Below, in the same precinct, there is a 
second temple, in which is a sitting figure of 
Jupiter, all of gold. Before the figure stands a 
large golden table, and the throne whereon it 
sits, and the base on which the throne is placed, 
are likewise of gold. The Chaldaeans told me 
that all the gold together was eight hundred 
talents' weight. Outside the temple are two al- 
tars, one of solid gold, on which it is only law- 
ful to offer sucklings; the other a common al- 
tar, but of great size, on which the full-grown 
animals are sacrificed. It is also on the great al- 
tar that the Chaldaeans burn the frankincense, 
which is offered to the amount of a thousand 
talents' weight, every year, at the festival of the 
God. In the time of Cyrus there was likewise in 
this temple a figure of a man, twelve cubits 
high, entirely of solid gold. I myself did not see 
this figure, but I relate what the Chaldeans re- 
port concerning it. Darius, the son of Hystas- 
pes, plotted to carry the statue off, but had not 
the hardihood to lay his hands upon it. Xerxes, 
however, the son of Darius, killed the priest 
who forbade him to move the statue, and took 
it away. Besides the ornaments which I have 
mentioned, there are a large number of private 
offerings in this holy precinct. 

184. Many sovereigns have ruled over this 
city of Babylon, and lent their aid to the build- 

1 The Theban Jupiter, or god worshipped as the 
Supreme Being in the city of Thebes, was Ammon 

ing of its walls and the adornment of its tem- 
ples, of whom I shall make mention in my As- 
syrian history. Among them two were women. 
Of these, the earlier, called Semiramis, held the 
throne five generations before the later prin- 
cess. She raised certain embankments well 
worthy of inspection, in the plain near Baby- 
lon, to control the river, which, till then, used 
to overflow, and flood the whole country round 

185. The later of the two queens, whose 
name was Nitocns, a wiser princess than her 
predecessor, not only left behind her, as mem- 
orials of her occupancy of the throne, the 
works which I shall presently describe, but also, 
observing the great power and restless enter- 
prise of the Medes, who had taken so large a 
number of cities, and among them Nineveh, 
and expecting to be attacked in her turn, made 
all possible exertions to increase the defences 
of her empire. And first, whereas the river Eu- 
phrates, which traverses the city, ran formerly 
with a straight course to Babylon, she, by cer- 
tain excavations which she made at some dis- 
tance up the stream, rendered it so winding 
that it comes three several times in sight of the 
same village, a village in Assyria, which is 
called Ardericca; and to this day, they who 
would go from our sea to Babylon, on descend- 
ing to the river touch three times, and on three 
different days, at this very place. She also made 
an embankment along each side of the Eu- 
phrates, wonderful both for breadth and 
height, and dug a basin for a lake a great way 
above Babylon, close alongside of the stream, 
which was sunk everywhere to the point where 
they came to water, and was of such breadth 
that the whole circuit measured four hundred 
and twenty furlongs. The soil dug out of this 
basin was made use of in the embankments 
along the waterside. When the excavation was 
finished, she had stones brought, and bordered 
with them the entire margin of the reservoir. 
These two things were done, the river made to 
wind, and the lake excavated, that the stream 
might be slacker by reason of the number of 
curves, and the voyage be rendered circuitous, 
and that at the end of the voyage it might be 
necessary to skirt the lake and so make a long 
round. AH these works were on that side of 
Babylon where the passes lay, and the roads 
into Media were the straightest, and the aim of 
the queen in making them was to prevent the 
Medes from holding intercourse with the Bab- 
ylonians, and so to keep them in ignorance of 
her affairs. 



[BOOK i 

1 86. While the soil from the excavation was 
being thus used for the defence of the city, Ni- 
tocris engaged also in another undertaking, a 
mere by-work compared with those we have 
already mentioned. The city, as I said, was di- 
vided by the river into two distinct portions. 
Under the former kings, if a man wanted to 
pass from one of these divisions to the other, 
he had to cross in a boat; which must, it seems 
to me, have been very troublesome. According- 
ly, while she was digging the lake, Nitocris be- 
thought herself of turning it to a use which 
should at once remove this inconvenience, and 
enable her to leave another monument of her 
reign over Babylon. She gave orders for the 
hewing of immense blocks of stone, and when 
they were ready and the basin was excavated, 
she turned the entire stream of the Euphrates 
into the cutting, and thus for a time, while the 
basin was filling, the natural channel of the riv- 
er was left dry. Forthwith she set to work, and 
in the first place lined the banks of the stream 
within the city with quays of burnt brick, and 
also bricked the landing-places opposite the 
river-gates, adopting throughout the same 
fashion of brickwork which had been used in 
the town wall; after which, with the materials 
which had been prepared, she built, as near the 
middle of the town as possible, a stone bridge, 
the blocks whereof were bound together with 
iron and lead. In the daytime square wooden 
platforms were laid along from pier to pier, on 
which the inhabitants crossed the stream; but 
at night they were withdrawn, to prevent peo- 
ple passing from side to side in the dark to com- 
mit robberies. When the river had filled the 
cutting, and the bridge was finished, the Eu- 
phrates was turned back again into its ancient 
bed; and thus the basin, transformed suddenly 
into a lake, was seen to answer the purpose for 
which it was made, and the inhabitants, by 
help of the basin, obtained the advantage of a 

187. It was this same princess by whom a re- 
markable deception was planned. She had her 
tomb constructed in the upper part of one of 
the principal gateways of the city, high above 
the heads of the passers by, with this inscrip- 
tion cut upon it: "If there be one among my 
successors on the throne of Babylon who is in 
want of treasure, let him open my tomb, and 
take as much as he chooses not, however, un- 
less he be truly in want, for it will not be for 
his good/' This tomb continued untouched un- 
til Darius came to the kingdom. To him it 
seemed a monstrous thing that he should be un- 

able to use one of the gates of the town, and 
that a sum of money should be lying idle, and 
moreover inviting his grasp, and he not seize 
upon it. Now he could not use the gate, be- 
cause, as he drove through, the dead body 
would have been over his head. Accordingly he 
opened the tomb; but instead of money, found 
only the dead body, and a writing which said 
"Hadst thou not been insatiate of pelf, and 
careless how thou gottest it, thou wouldst not 
have broken open the sepulchres of the dead." 

1 88. The expedition of Cyrus was under- 
taken against the son of this princess, who bore 
the same name as his father Labynetus, and 
was king of the Assyrians. The Great King, 
when he goes to the wars, is always supplied 
with provisions carefully prepared at home, 
and with cattle of his own. Water too from the 
river Choaspes, which flows by Susa, is taken 
with him for his drink, as that is the only 
water which the kings of Persia taste. Wher- 
ever he travels, he is attended by a number of 
four-wheeled cars drawn by mules, in which 
the Choaspes water, ready boiled for use, and 
stored in flagons of silver, is moved with him 
from place to place. 

189. Cyrus on his way to Babylon came to 
the banks of the Gyndes, a stream which, ris- 
ing in the Matieman mountains, runs through 
the country of the Dardamans, and empties it- 
self into the river Tigris. The Tigris, after re- 
ceiving the Gyndes, flows on by the city of 
Opis, and discharges its waters into the Ery- 
thraean sea. When Cyrus reached this stream, 
which could only be passed in boats, one of the 
sacred white horses accompanying his march, 
full of spirit and high mettle, walked into the 
water, and tried to cross by himself; but the 
current seized him, swept him along with it, 
and drowned him in its depths. Cyrus, enraged 
at the insolence of the river, threatened so to 
break its strength that in future even women 
should cross it easily without wetting their 
knees. Accordingly he put off for a time his at- 
tack on Babylon, and, dividing his army into 
two parts, he marked out by ropes one hundred 
and eighty trenches on each side of the Gyndes, 
leading off from it in all directions, and setting 
his army to dig, some on one side of the river, 
some on the other, he accomplished his threat 
by the aid of so great a number of hands, but 
not without losing thereby the whole summer 


190. Having, however, thus wreaked his 
vengeance on the Gyndes, by dispersing it 
through three hundred and sixty channels, Cy- 




rus, with the first approach of the ensuing 
spring, marched forward against Babylon. The 
Babylonians, encamped without their walls, 
awaited his coming. A battle was fought at a 
short distance from the city, in which the Bab- 
ylonians were defeated by the Persian king, 
whereupon they withdrew within their de- 
fences. Here they shut themselves up, and 
made light of his siege, having laid in a store 
of provisions for many years in preparation 
against this attack; for when they saw Cyrus 
conquering nation after nation, they were con- 
vinced that he would never stop, and that their 
turn would come at last. 

191. Cyrus was now reduced to great per- 
plexity, as time went on and he made no prog- 
ress against the place. In this distress either 
some one made the suggestion to him, or he 
bethought himself of a plan, which he proceed- 
ed to put in execution. He placed a portion of 
his army at the point where the river enters the 
city, and another body at the back of the place 
where it issues forth, with orders to march into 
the town by the bed of the stream, as soon as 
the water became shallow enough: he then 
himself drew off with the unwarlike portion of 
his host, and made for the place where Nito- 
cns dug the basin for the river, where he did 
exactly what she had done formerly: he turned 
the Euphrates by a canal into the basin, which 
was then a marsh, on which the river sank to 
such an extent that the natural bed of the 
stream became fordable. Hereupon the Per- 
sians who had been left for the purpose at Bab- 
ylon by the river-side, entered the stream, 
which had now sunk so as to reach about mid- 
way up a man's thigh, and thus got into the town. 
Had the Babylonians been apprised of what 
Cyrus was about, or had they noticed their dan- 
ger, they would never have allowed the Per- 
sians to enter the city, but would have de- 
stroyed them utterly; for they would have 
made fast all the street-gates which gave upon 
the river, and mounting upon the walls along 
both sides of the stream, would so have caught 
the enemy, as it were, in a trap. But, as it was, 
the Persians came upon them by surprise and 
so took the city. Owing to the vast size of the 
place, the inhabitants of the central parts (as 
the residents at Babylon declare) long after the 
outer portions of the town were taken, knew 
nothing of what had chanced, but as they were 
engaged in a festival, continued dancing and 
revelling until they learnt the capture but too 
certainly. Such, then, were the circumstances 
of the first taking of Babylon. 

192. Among many proofs which I shall 
bring forward of the power and resources of 
the Babylonians, the following is of special ac- 
count. The whole country under the dominion 
of the Persians, besides paying a fixed tribute, 
is parcelled out into divisions, which have to 
supply food to the Great King and his army 
during different portions of the year. Now out 
of the twelve months which go to a year, the 
district of Babylon furnishes food during four, 
the other regions of Asia during eight; by 
which it appears that Assyria, in respect of re- 
sources, is one-third of the whole of Asia. Of 
all the Persian governments, or satrapies as 
they are called by the natives, this is by far the 
best. When Tritantaechmes, son of Artabazus, 
held it of the king, it brought him in an artaba 
of silver every day. The artaba is a Persian mea- 
sure, and holds three chcenixes more than the 
medimnus of the Athenians. He also had, be- 
longing to his own private stud, besides war- 
horses, eight hundred stallions and sixteen 
thousand mares, twenty to each stallion. Be- 
sides which he kept so great a number of In- 
dian hounds, that four large villages of the 
plain were exempted from all other charges on 
condition of finding them in food. 

193. But little rain falls in Assyria, enough, 
however, to make the corn begin to sprout, aft- 
er which the plant is nourished and the ears 
formed by means of irrigation from the river. 
For the river does not, as in Egypt, overflow 
the corn-lands of its own accord, but is spread 
over them by the hand, or by the help of en- 
gines. The whole of Babylonia is, like Egypt, 
intersected with canals. The largest of them all, 
which runs towards the winter sun, and is im- 
passable except in boats, is carried from the 
Euphrates into another stream, called the Ti- 
gris, the river upon which the town of Nineveh 
formerly stood. Of all the countries that we 
know there is none which is so fruitful in 
grain. It makes no pretension indeed of grow- 
ing the fig, the olive, the vine, or any other 
tree of the kind; but in grain it is so fruitful as 
to yield commonly two-hundred-fold, and 
when the production is the greatest, even three- 
hundred-fold. The blade of the wheat-plant 
and barley-plant is often four fingers in 
breadth. As for the millet and the sesame, I 
shall not say to what height they grow, though 
within my own knowledge; for I am not igno- 
rant that what I have already written concern- 
ing the fruitfulness of Babylonia must seem in- 
credible to those who have never visited the 
country. The only oil they use is made from 



[ BOOK i 

the sesame-plant. Palm-trees grow in great 
numbers over the whole of the flat country, 
mostly of the kind which bears fruit, and this 
fruit supplies them with bread, wine, and hon- 
ey. They are cultivated like the fig-tree in all 
respects, among others in this. The natives tie 
the fruit of the male-palms, as they are called 
by the Greeks, to the branches of the date-bear- 
ing palm, to let the gall-fly enter the dates and 
ripen them, and to prevent the fruit from fall- 
ing of!. The male-palms, like the wild fig-trees, 
have usually the gall-fly in their fruit. 

194. But that which surprises me most in the 
land, after the city itself, I will now proceed 
to mention. The boats which come down the 
river to Babylon are circular, and made of 
skins. The frames, which are of willow, are cut 
in the country of the Armenians above Assyria, 
and on these, which serve for hulls, a covering 
of skins is stretched outside, and thus the boats 
are made, without cither stem or stern, quite 
round like a shield. They are then entirely 
filled with straw, and their cargo is put on 
board, after which they are suffered to float 
down the stream. Their chief freight is wine, 
stored in casks made of the wood of the palm- 
tree. They are managed by two men who stand 
upright in them, each plying an oar, one pull- 
ing and the other pushing. The boats are of 
various sizes, some larger, some smaller; the 
biggest reach as high as five thousand talents' 
burthen. Each vessel has a live ass on board; 
those of larger size have more than one. When 
they reach Babylon, the cargo is landed and 
offered for sale; after which the men break 
up their boats, sell the straw and the frames, 
and loading their asses with the skins, set 
of! on their way back to Armenia. The current 
is too strong to allow a boat to return up- 
stream, for which reason they make their boats 
of skins rather than wood. On their return to 
Armenia they build fresh boats for the next 

195. The dress of the Babylonians is a linen 
tunic reaching to the feet, and above it another 
tunic made in wool, besides which they have a 
short white cloak thrown round them, and 
shoes of a peculiar fashion, not unlike those 
worn by the Boeotians. They have long hair, 
wear turbans on their heads, and anoint their 
whole body with perfumes. Every one carries a 
seal, and a walking-stick, carved at the top into 
the form of an apple, a rose, a lily, an eagle, or 
something similar; for it is not their habit to 
use a stick without an ornament. 

196. Of their customs, whereof I shall now 

proceed to give an account, the following 
(which I understand belongs to them in com- 
mon with the Illyrian tribe of the Eneti) is the 
wisest in my judgment. Once a year in each vil- 
lage the maidens of age to marry were collected 
all together into one place; while the men stood 
round them in a circle. Then a herald called up 
the damsels one by one, and offered them for 
sale. He began with the most beautiful. When 
she was sold for no small sum of money, he 
offered for sale the one who came next to her 
in beauty. All of them were sold to be wives. 
The richest of the Babylonians who wished to 
wed bid against each other for the loveliest 
maidens, while the humbler wife-seekers, who 
were indifTerent about beauty, took the more 
homely damsels with marriage-portions. For 
the custom was that when the herald had gone 
through the whole number of the beautiful 
damsels, he should then call up the ugliest a 
cripple, if there chanced to be one and offer 
her to the men, asking who would agree to 
take her with the smallest marriage-portion. 
And the man who offered to take the smallest 
sum had her assigned to him. The marriage- 
portions were furnished by the money paid for 
the beautiful damsels, and thus the fairer maid- 
ens portioned out the uglier. No one was al- 
lowed to give his daughter in marriage to the 
man of his choice, nor might any one carry 
away the damsel whom he had purchased 
without finding bail really and truly to make 
her his wife; if, however, it turned out that 
they did not agree, the money might be paid 
back. All who liked might come even from dis- 
tant villages and bid for the women. This was 
the best of all their customs, but it has now 
fallen into disuse. They have lately hit upon a 
very different plan to save their maidens from 
violence, and prevent their being torn from 
them and carried to distant cities, which is to 
bring up their daughters to be courtesans. This 
is now done by all the poorer of the common 
people, who since the conquest have been mal- 
treated by their lords, and have had ruin 
brought upon their families. 

197. The following custom seems to me the 
wisest of their institutions next to the one late- 
ly praised. They have no physicians, but when 
a man is ill, they lay him in the public square, 
and the passers-by come up to him, and if they 
have ever had his disease themselves or have 
known any one who has suffered from it, they 
give him advice, recommending him to do 
whatever they found good in their own case, 
or in the case known to them; and no one is al- 




lowed to pass the sick man in silence without 
asking him what his ailment is. 

198. They bury their dead in honey, and 
have funeral lamentations like the Egyptians. 
When a Babylonian has consorted with his 
wife, he sits down before a censer of burning 
incense, and the woman sits opposite to him. 
At dawn of day they wash; for till they are 
washed they will not touch any of their com- 
mon vessels. This practice is observed also by 
the Arabians. 

199. The Babylonians have one most shame- 
ful custom. Every woman born in the country 
must once in her life go and sit down in the 
precinct of Venus, and there consort with a 
stranger. Many of the wealthier sort, who are 
too proud to mix with the others, drive in cov- 
ered carriages to the precinct, followed by a 
goodly train of attendants, and there take their 
station. But the larger number seat themselves 
within the holy enclosure with wreaths of 
string about their heads and here there is al- 
ways a great crowd, some coming and others 
going; lines of cord mark out paths in all di- 
rections among the women, and the strangers 
pass along them to make their choice. A wo- 
man who has once taken her seat is not al- 
lowed to return home till one of the strangers 
throws a silver com into her lap, and takes her 
with him beyond the holy ground. When he 
throws the coin he says these words "The 
goddess Mylitta prosper thee." (Venus is called 
Myhtta by the Assyrians.) The silver coin may 
be of any size; it cannot be refused, for that is 
forbidden by the law, since once thrown it is 
sacred. The woman goes with the first man 
who throws her money, and rejects no one. 
When she has gone with him, and so satisfied 
the goddess, she returns home, and from that 
time forth no gift however great will prevail 
with her. Such of the women as are tall and 
beautiful are soon released, but others who are 
ugly have to stay a long time before they can 
fulfil the law. Some have waited three or four 
years in the precinct. A custom very much like 
this is found also in certain parts of the island 
of Cyprus. 

200. Such are the customs of the Babylon- 
ians generally. There are likewise three tribes 
among them who eat nothing but fish. These 
are caught and dried in the sun, after which 
they are brayed in a mortar, and strained 
through a linen sieve. Some prefer to make 
cakes of this material, while others bake it into 
a kind of bread. 

301. When Cyrus had achieved the conquest 

of the Babylonians, he conceived the desire of 
bringing the Massagetx under his dominion. 
Now the Massagetse are said to be a great and 
warlike nation, dwelling eastward, toward the 
rising of the sun, beyond the river Araxes, and 
opposite the Issedonians. By many they are re- 
garded as a Scythian race. 

202. As for the Araxes, it is, according to 
some accounts, larger, according to others 
smaller than the Ister (Danube). It has islands 
in it, many of which arc said to be equal in size 
to Lesbos. The men who inhabit them feed 
during the summer on roots of all kinds, which 
they dig out of the ground, while they store up 
the fruits, which they gather from the trees at 
the fitting season, to serve them as food in the 
winter-time. Besides the trees whose fruit they 
gather for this purpose, they have also a tree 
which bears the strangest produce. When they 
are met together in companies they throw some 
of it upon the fire round which they are sitting, 
and presently, by the mere smell of the fumes 
which it gives out in burning, they grow 
drunk, as the Greeks do with wine. More of 
the fruit is then thrown on the fire, and, their 
drunkenness increasing, they often jump up 
and begin to dance and sing. Such is the ac- 
count which I have heard of this people. 

The river Araxes, like the Gyndes, which 
Cyrus dispersed into three hundred and sixty 
channels, has its source in the country of the 
Matiemans. It has forty mouths, whereof all, 
except one, end in bogs and swamps. These 
bogs and swamps are said to be inhabited by a 
race of men who feed on raw fish, and clothe 
themselves with the skins of seals. The other 
mouth of the river flows with a clear course 
into the Caspian Sea. 1 

203. The Caspian is a sea by itself, having no 
connection with any other. The sea frequented 
by the Greeks, that beyond the Pillars of Her- 
cules, which is called the Atlantic, and also the 
Erythraran, are all one and the same sea. But 
the Caspian is a distinct sea, lying by itself, in 
length fifteen days' voyage with a row-boat, in 
breadth, at the broadest part, eight days' voy- 
age. Along its western shore runs the chain of 
the Caucasus, the most extensive and loftiest 
of all mountain-ranges. Many and various are 
the tribes by which it is inhabited, most of 
whom live entirely on the wild fruits of the 
forest. In these forests certain trees are said to 
grow, from the leaves of which, pounded and 

1 Herodotus appears to have confused together 
the information which had reached him concern- 
ing two or three distinct streams. 



[ BOOK i 

mixed with water, the inhabitants make a dye, 
wherewith they paint upon their clothes the 
figures of animals; and the figures so im- 
pressed never wash out, but last as though they 
had been inwoven in the cloth from the first, 
and wear as long as the garment. 

204. On the west then, as I have said, the 
Caspian Sea is bounded by the range of Cau- 
casus. On the east it is followed by a vast plain, 
stretching out interminably before the eye, the 
greater portion of which is possessed by those 
Massagctx, against whom Cyrus was now so 
anxious to make an expedition. Many strong 
motives weighed with him and urged him on 
his birth especially, which seemed some- 
thing more than human, and his good fortune 
in all his former wars, wherein he had always 
found that against what country soever he 
turned his arms, it was impossible for that 
people to escape. 

205. At this time the Massagetae were ruled 
by a queen, named Tomyris, who at the death 
of her husband, the late king, had mounted the 
throne. To her Cyrus sent ambassadors, with 
instructions to court her on his part, pretending 
that he wished to take her to wite. Tomyris, 
however, aware that it was her kingdom, and 
not herself, that he courted, forbade the men 
to approach. Cyrus, therefore, finding that he 
did not advance his designs by this deceit, 
marched towards the A raxes, and openly dis- 
playing his hostile intentions, set to work to 
construct a bridge on which his army might 
cross the river, and began building towers upon 
the boats which were to be used in the passage. 

206. While the Persian leader was occupied 
in these labours, Tomyris sent a herald to him, 
who said, "King of the Medes, cease to press 
this enterprise, for thou canst not know if what 
thou art doing will be of real advantage to thee. 
Be content to rule in peace thy own kingdom, 
and bear to see us reign over the countries that 
are ours to govern. As, however, I know thou 
wilt not choose to hearken to this counsel, since 
there is nothing thou less dcsirest than peace 
and quietness, come now, if thou art so might- 
ily desirous of meeting the Massageta! in arms, 
leave thy useless toil of bridge-making; let us 
retire three days' march from the river bank, 
and do thou come across with thy soldiers; or, 
if thou hkest better to give us battle on thy side 
the stream, retire thyself an equal distance." 
Cyrus, on this offer, called together the chiefs 
of the Persians, and laid the matter before 
them, requesting them to advise him what he 
should do. All the votes were in favour of his 

letting Tomyris cross the stream, and giving 
battle on Persian ground. 

207. But Croesus the Lydian, who was pres- 
ent at the meeting of the chiefs, disapproved 
of this advice; he therefore rose, and thus de- 
livered his sentiments in opposition to it: "Oh! 
my king 1 I promised thee long since, that, as 
Jove had given me into thy hands, I would, to 
the best of my power, avert impending danger 
from thy house. Alas' my own sufferings, by 
their very bitterness, have taught me to be 
keen-sighted of dangers. If thou deemest thy- 
self an immortal, and thine army an army of 
immortals, my counsel will doubtless be 
thrown away upon thee. But if thou feelest thy- 
self to be a man, and a ruler of men, lay this 
first to heart, that there is a wheel on which the 
affairs of men revolve, and that its movement 
forbids the same man to be always fortunate. 
Now concerning the matter in hand, my 
judgment runs counter to the judgment of 
thy other counsellors. For if thou agrcest to 
give the enemy entrance into thy country, 
consider what risk is run' Lose the battle, and 
therewith thy whole kingdom is lost. For as- 
suredly, the Massagetae, if they win the fight, 
will not return to their homes, but will push 
forward against the states of thy empire. Or if 
thou gaincst the battle, why, then thou gainest 
far less than if thou wert across the stream, 
where thou mightcst follow up thy victory. For 
against thy loss, if they defeat thee on thine 
own ground, must be set theirs in like case. Rout 
their army on the other side of the river, and 
thou mayest push at once into the heart of their 
country. Moreover, were it not disgrace intol- 
erable for Cyrus the son of Cambyses to retire 
before and yield ground to a woman? My 
counsel, therefore, is that we cross the stream, 
and pushing forward as far as they shall fall 
back, then seek to get the better of them by 
stratagem. I am told they are unacquainted 
with the good things on which the Persians 
live, and have never tasted the great delights of 
life. Let us then prepare a feast for them in our 
camp; let sheep be slaughtered without stint, 
and the winecups be filled full of noble liquor, 
and let all manner of dishes be prepared: then 
leaving behind us our worst troops, let us fall 
back towards the river. Unless I very much 
mistake, when they see the good fare set out, 
they will forget all else and fall to. Then it 
will remain for us to do our parts manfully." 

208. Cyrus, when the two plans were thus 
placed in contrast before him, changed his 
mind, and preferring the advice which Croesus 




had given, returned for answer to Tomyris 
that she should retire, and that he would cross 
the stream. She therefore retired, as she had en- 
gaged; and Cyrus, giving Croesus into the care 
of his son Cambyses (whom he had appointed 
to succeed him on the throne), with strict 
charge to pay him all respect and treat him 
well, it the expedition failed of success; and 
sending them both back to Persia, crossed the 
river with his army. 

209. The first night after the passage, as he 
slept in the enemy's country, a vision appeared 
to him. He seemed to see in his sleep the eldest 
of the sons of Hystaspes, with wings upon his 
shoulders, shadowing with the one wing Asia, 
and Europe with the other. Now Hystaspes, 
the son of Arsames, was of the race of the 
Achaememdae, and his eldest son, Darius, was 
at that time scarce twenty years old; wherefore, 
not being of age to go to the wars, he had re- 
mained behind in Persia. When Cyrus woke 
from his sleep, and turned the vision over in 
his mind, it seemed to him no light matter. He % 
therefore sent for Hystaspes, and taking him 
aside said, "Hystaspes, thy son is discovered to 
be plotting against me and my crown. I will 
tell thee how I know it so certainly. The gods 
watch over my safety, and warn me before- 
hand of every danger. Now last night, as I lay 
in my bed, I saw in a vision the eldest of thy 
sons with wings upon his shoulders, shadow- 
ing with the one wing Asia, and Europe with 
the other. From this it is certain, beyond all 
possible doubt, that he is engaged in some plot 
against me. Return thou then at once to Persia, 
and be sure, when I come back from conquer- 
ing the Massagetz, to have thy son ready to 
produce before me, that I may examine him." 

210. Thus Cyrus spoke, in the belief that he 
was plotted against by Darius; but he missed 
the true meaning of the dream, which was sent 
by God to forewarn him, that he was to die 
then and there, and that his kingdom was to 
fall at last to Darius. 

Hystaspes made answer to Cyrus in these 
words: "Heaven forbid, sire, that there 
should be a Persian living who would plot 
against thee' If such an one there be, may a 
speedy death overtake him! Thou foundest the 
Persians a race of slaves, thou hast made them 
free men: thou foundest them subject to others, 
thou hast made them lords of all. If a vision has 
announced that my son is practising against 
thee, lo, I resign him into thy hands to deal 
with as thou wilt.'* Hystaspes, when he had 
thus answered, rccrossed the Araxes and has- 

tened back to Persia, to keep a watch on his 
son Darius. 

211. Meanwhile Cyrus, having advanced a 
day's march from the river, did as Croesus had 
advised him, and, leaving the worthless por- 
tion of his army in the camp, drew off with his 
good troops towards the river. Soon after- 
wards, a detachment of the Massageta*, one- 
third of their entire army, led by Spargapises, 
son of the queen Tomyris, coming up, fell 
upon the body which had been left behind by 
Cyrus, and on their resistance put them to the 
sword. Then, seeing the banquet prepared, 
they sat down and began to feast. When they 
had eaten and drunk their fill, and were now 
sunk in sleep, the Persians under Cyrus ar- 
rived, slaughtered a great multitude, and made 
even a larger number prisoners. Among these 
last was Spargapises himself. 

212. When Tomyris heard what had befall- 
en her son and her army, she sent a herald to 
Cyrus, who thus addressed the conqueror: 
"Thou bloodthirsty Cyrus, pride not thyself 
on this poor success: it was the grape-] nice 
which, when ye drink it, makes you so mad, 
and as ye swallow it down brings up to your 
lips such bold and wicked words it was this 
poison wherewith thou didst ensnare my child, 
and so overcamcst him, not in fair open fight. 
Now hearken what I advise, and be sure I ad- 
vise thee for thy good. Restore my son to me 
and get thee from the land unharmed, trium- 
phant over a third part of the host o( the Mas- 
sageta!. Refuse, and I swear by the sun, the sov- 
ereign lord of the Massaget.c, bloodthirsty as 
thou art, I will give thee thy fill oi blood." 

213. To the words of this message Cyrus 
paid no manner of regard. As for Spargapises, 
the son of the queen, when the wine went ofT, 
and he saw the extent of his calamity, he made 
request to Cyrus to release him from his bonds; 
then, when his prayer was granted, and the 
fetters were taken from his limbs, as soon as his 
hands were free, he destroyed himself. 

214. Tomyris, when she found that Cyrus 
paid no heed to her advice, collected all the 
forces of her kingdom, and gave him battle. 
Of all the combats in which the barbarians 
have engaged among themselves, I reckon this 
to have been the fiercest. The following, as I 
understand, was the manner of it: First, the 
two armies stood apart and shot their arrows 
at each other; then, when their quivers were 
empty, they closed and fought hand-to-hand 
with lances and daggers; and thus they con- 
tinued fighting for a length of time, neither 



choosing to give ground. At length the Mas- 
sagctae prevailed. The greater part of the army 
of the Persians was destroyed and Cyrus him- 
self fell, after reigning nine and twenty years. 
Search was made among the slam by order of 
the queen for the body of Cyrus, and when it 
was found she took a skin, and, filling it full 
of human blood, she dipped the head of Cyrus 
in the gore, saying, as she thus insulted the 
corse, "I live and have conquered thee in fight, 
and yet by thee am I ruined, for thou tookest 
my son with guile; but thus I make good my 
threat, and give thee thy fill of blood." Of the 
many different accounts which are given of 
the death of Cyrus, this which I have followed 
appears to me most worthy of credit. 

215. In their dress and mode of living the 
Massagetae resemble the Scythians. They fight 
both on horseback and on foot, neither method 
is strange to them: they use bows and lances, 
but their favourite weapon is the battle-axe. 
Their arms are all either of gold or brass. For 
their spear-points, and arrow-heads, and for 
their battle-axes, they make use of brass; for 
head-gear, belts, and girdles, of gold. So too 
with the caparison of their horses, they give 

them breastplates of brass, but employ gold 
about the reins, the bit, and the cheek-plates. 
They use neither iron nor silver, having none 
in their country; but they have brass and gold 
in abundance. 

216. The following are some of their cus- 
toms; Each man has but one wife, yet all the 
wives are held in common; for this is a custom 
of the Massagetae and not of the Scythians, as 
the Greeks wrongly say. Human life does not 
come to its natural close with this people; but 
when a man grows very old, all his kinsfolk 
collect together and offer him up in sacrifice; 
offering at the same time some cattle also. Af- 
ter the sacrifice they boil the flesh and feast on 
it; and those who thus end their days are reck- 
oned the happiest. If a man dies of disease they 
do not eat him, but bury him in the ground, be- 
wailing his ill-fortune that he did not come to 
be sacrificed. They sow no grain, but live on 
their herds, and on fish, of which there is great 
plenty in the Araxes. Milk is what they chiefly 
"drink. The only god they worship is the sun, 
and to him they offer the horse in sacrifice; un- 
der the notion of giving to the swiftest of the 
gods the swiftest of all mortal creatures. 

The Second Book, Entitled 

i. On the death of Cyrus, Cambyses his son by 
Cassandane daughter of Pharnaspes took the 
kingdom. Cassandane had died in the lifetime 
of Cyrus, who had made a great mourning for 
her at her death, and had commanded all the 
subjects of his empire to observe the like. Cam- 
byses, the son of this lady and of Cyrus, regard- 
ing the Ionian and ^olian Greeks as vassals of 
his father, took them with him m his expedi- 
tion against Egypt among the other nations 
which owned his sway. 

2. Now the Egyptians, before the reign of 
their king Psammctichus, believed themselves 
to be the most ancient of mankind. Since Psam- 
metichus, however, made an attempt to discov- 
er who were actually the primitive race, they 
have been of opinion that while they surpass 
all other nations, the Phrygians surpass them 
in antiquity. This king, finding it impossible to 
make out by dint of inquiry what men were 
the most ancient, contrived the following meth- 
od of discovery: He took two children of the 
common sort, and gave them over to a herds- 
man to bring up at his folds, strictly charging 
him to let no one utter a word in their pres- 
ence, but to keep them in a sequestered cot- 
tage, and from time to time introduce goats to 
their apartment, see that they got their fill of 
milk, and in all other respects look after them. 
His object herein was to know, after the indis- 
tinct babblings of infancy were over, what 
word they would first articulate. It happened 
as he had anticipated. The herdsman obeyed 
his orders for two years, and at the end of that 
time, on his one day opening the door of their 
room and going in, the children both ran up to 
him with outstretched arms, and distinctly said 
"Becos." When this first happened the herds- 
man took no notice; but afterwards when he 
observed, on coming often to see after them, 
that the word was constantly in their mouths, 
he informed his lord, and by his command 

brought the children into his presence. Psam- 
metichus then himself heard them say the 
word, upon which he proceeded to make in- 
quiry what people there was who called any- 
thing "becos," and hereupon he learnt that 
"becos" was the Phrygian name for bread. In 
consideration of this circumstance the Egyp- 
tians yielded their claims, and admitted the 
greater antiquity of the Phrygians. 

3. That these were the real facts I learnt at 
Memphis from the priests of Vulcan. The 
Greeks, among other foolish tales, relate that 
Psammetichus had the children brought up by 
women whoso tongues he had previously cut 
out; but the priests said their bringing up was 
such as I have stated above. I got much other 
information also from conversation with these 
priests while I was at Memphis, and I even 
went to Heliopolis and to Thebes, expressly to 
try whether the priests of those places would 
agree in their accounts with the prices at 
Memphis. The Heliopolitans have the reputa- 
tion of being the best skilled in history of all 
the Egyptians. What they told me concerning 
their religion it is not my intention to repeat, 
except the names of their deities, which 1 be- 
lieve all men know equally. If 1 relate anything 
else concerning these matters, it will only be 
when compelled to do so by the course of my 

4. Now with regard to mere human matters, 
the accounts which they gave, and in which all 
agreed, were the following. The Egyptians, 
they said, were the first to discover the solar 
year, and to portion out its course into twelve 
parts. They obtained this knowledge from the 
stars. (To my mind they contrive their year 
much more cleverly than the Greeks, for these 
last every other year intercalate a whole month, 
but the Egyptians, dividing the year into 
twelve months of thirty days each, add every 
year a space of five days besides, whereby the 




[ BOOK ii 

circuit of the seasons is made to return with 
uniformity.) The Egyptians, they went on to 
affirm, first brought into use the names of the 
twelve gods, which the Greeks adopted from 
them; and first erected altars, images, and tem- 
ples to the gods; and also first engraved upon 
stone the figures of animals. In most of these 
cases they proved to me that what they said 
was true. And they told me that the first man 
who ruled over Egypt was Men, and that in his 
time all Egypt, except the Thebaic canton, was 
a marsh, none of the land below Lake Moeris 
then showing itself above the surface of the 
water. This is a distance of seven days' sail 
from the sea up the river. 

5. What they said of their country seemed 
to me very reasonable. For any one who sees 
Egypt, without having heard a word about it 
before, must perceive, if he has only common 
powers of observation, that the Egypt to which 
the Greeks go in their ships is an acquired 
country, the gift of the river. The same is true 
of the land above the lake, to the distance of 
three days* voyage, concerning which the 
Egyptians say nothing, but which is exactly the 
same kind of country. 

The following is the general character of the 
region. In the first place, on approaching it 
by sea, when you are still a day's sail from 
the land, if you let down a sounding-line you 
will bring up mud, and find yourself in eleven 
fathoms* water, which shows that the soil 
washed down by the stream extends to that 

6. The length of the country along shore, ac- 
cording to the bounds that we assign to Egypt, 
namely from the Plinthinetic gulf to Lake Ser- 
bonis, which extends along the base of Mount 
Casius, is sixty schoenes. The nations whose ter- 
ritories are scanty measure them by the fath- 
om; those whose bounds are less confined, by 
the furlong; those who have an ample territory, 
by the parasang; but if men have a country 
which is very vast, they measure it by the 
scheme. Now the length ot the parasang is thir- 
ty furlongs, but the schcrne, which is an Egyp- 
tian measure, is sixty furlongs. Thus the coast- 
line of Egypt would extend a length of three 
thousand six hundred furlongs. 

7. From the coast inland as far as Heliopolis 
the breadth of Egypt is considerable, the coun- 
try is Bat, without springs, and full of swamps. 
The length of the route from the sea up to He- 
liopolis is almost exactly the same as that of the 
road which runs from the altar of the twelve 
gods at Athens to the temple of Olympian love 

at Pisa. If a person made a calculation he 
would find but a very little difference between 
the two routes, not more than about fifteen fur- 
longs; for the road from Athens to Pisa falls 
short of fifteen hundred furlongs by exactly 
fifteen, whereas the distance of Heliopolis from 
the sea is just the round number. 

8. As one proceeds beyond Heliopolis up the 
country, Egypt becomes narrow, the Arabian 
range of hills, which has a direction from north 
to south, shutting it in upon the one side, and 
the Libyan range upon the other. The former 
ridge runs on without a break, and stretches 
away to the sea called the Erythraean; it con- 
tains the quarries whence the stone was cut for 
the pyramids of Memphis: and this is the point 
where it ceases its first direction, and bends 
away in the manner above indicated. In its 
greatest length from east to west it is, as I have 
been informed, a distance of two months' jour- 
ney; towards the extreme east its skirts produce 
frankincense. Such are the chief features of 
this range. On the Libyan side, the other ridge 
whereon the pyramids stand is rocky and cov- 
ered with sand; its direction is the same as that 
of the Arabian ridge in the first part of its 
course. Above Heliopolis, then, there is no 
great breadth of territory for such a country as 
Egypt, but during four days' sail Egypt is nar- 
row; the valley between the two ranges is a lev- 
el plain, and seemed to me to be, at the narrow- 
est point, not more than two hundred furlongs 
across from the Arabian to the Libyan hills. 
Above this point Egypt again widens. 

9. From Heliopolis to Thebes is nine days' 
sail up the river; the distance is eighty-one 
schoenes, or 4860 furlongs. If we now put to- 
gether the several measurements of the country 
we shall find that the distance along shore is, as 
I stated above, 3600 furlongs, and the distance 
from the sea inland to Thebes 6120 furlongs. 
Further, it is a distance of eighteen hundred 
furlongs from Thebes to the place called Ele- 

10. The greater portion of the country above 
described seemed to me to be, as the priests de- 
clared, a tract gained by the inhabitants. For 
the whole region above Memphis, lying be- 
tween the two ranges of hills that have been 
spoken of, appeared evidently to have formed 
at one time a gulf of the sea. It resembles (to 
compare small things with great) the parts 
about Ilium and Teuthrama, Ephesus, and the 
plain of the Maeander. In all these regions the 
land has been formed by rivers, whereof the 
greatest is not to compare for size with any one 



of the five mouths of the Nile. I could mention 
other rivers also, far inferior to the Nile in 
magnitude, that have effected very great 
changes. Among these not the least is the Ache- 
loiis, which, after passing through Acarnania, 
empties itself into the sea opposite the islands 
called Echinades, and has already joined one- 
half of them to the continent. 

11. In Arabia, not far from Egypt, there is 
a long and narrow gulf running inland from 
the sea called the Erythraean, of which I will 
here set down the dimensions. Starting from 
its innermost recess, and using a row-boat, you 
take forty days to reach the open main, while 
you may cross the gulf at its widest part in the 
space of half a day. In this sea there is an ebb 
and flow of the tide every day. My opinion is 
that Egypt was formerly very much such a gulf 
as this one gulf penetrated from the sea that 
washes Egypt on the north, and extended itself 
towards Ethiopia; another entered from the 
southern ocean, and stretched towards Syria; 
the two gulfs ran into the land so as almost to 
meet each other, and left between them only a 
very narrow tract of country. Now if the Nile 
should choose to divert his waters from their 
present bed into this Arabian gulf, what is 
there to hinder it from being filled up by the 
stream within, at the utmost, twenty thousand 
years ? For my part, I think it would be filled 
in half the time. How then should not a gulf, 
even of much greater size, have been filled up 
in the ages that passed before I was born, by a 
river that is at once so large and so given to 
working changes? 

12. Thus I give credit to those from whom I 
received this account of Egypt, and am myself, 
moreover, strongly of the same opinion, since 
I remarked that the country projects into the 
sea further than the neighbouring shores, and 
I observed that there were shells upon the hills, 
and that salt exuded from the soil to such an 
extent as even to injure the pyramids; and I no- 
ticed also that there is but a single hill in ail 
Egypt where sand is found, namely, the hill 
above Memphis; and further, I found the coun- 
try to bear no resemblance either to its border- 
land Arabia, or to Libya nay, nor even to Syr- 
ia, which forms the seaboard of Arabia; but 
whereas the soil of Libya is, we know, sandy 
and of a reddish hue, and that of Arabia and 
Syria inclines to stone and clay, Egypt has a 
soil that is black and crumbly, as being alluvial 
and formed of the deposits brought down by 
the river from Ethiopia. 

13. One fact which I learnt of the priests is 

to me a strong evidence of the origin of the 
country. They said that when Mceris was king, 
the Nile overflowed all Egypt below Memphis, 
as soon as it rose so little as eight cubits. Now 
Mceris had not been dead 900 years at the time 
when I heard this of the priests; yet at the pres- 
ent day, unless the river rise sixteen, or, at the 
very least, fifteen cubits, it does not overflow 
the lands. It seems to me, therefore, that if the 
land goes on rising and growing at this rate, 
the Egyptians who dwell below Lake Mceris, in 
the Delta (as it is called) and elsewhere, will 
one day, by the stoppage of the inundations, 
suffer permanently the fate which they told me 
they expected would some time or other befall 
the Greeks. On hearing that the whole land of 
Greece is watered by rain from heaven, and 
not, like their own, inundated by rivers, they 
observed "Some day the Greeks will be disap- 
pointed of their grand hope, and then they will 
be wretchedly hungry"; which was as much as 
to say, "If God shall some day see fit not to 
grant the Greeks rain, but shall afflict them 
with a long drought, the Greeks will be swept 
away by a famine, since they have nothing to 
rely on but ram from Jove, and have no other 
resource for water." 

14. And certes, in thus speaking of the 
Greeks the Egyptians say nothing but what is 
true. But now let me tell the Egyptians how 
the case stands with themselves. If, as I said be- 
fore, the country below Memphis, which is the 
land that is always rising, continues to increase 
in height at the rate at which it has risen in 
times gone by, how will it be possible for the 
inhabitants of that region to avoid hunger, 
when they will certainly have no rain, and the 
river will not be able to overflow their corn- 
lands? At present, it must be confessed, they 
obtain the fruits of the field with less trouble 
than any other people in the world, the rest of 
the Egyptians included, since they have no 
need to break up the ground with the plough, 
nor to use the hoe, nor to do any of the work 
which the rest of mankind find necessary if 
they are to get a crop; but the husbandman 
waits till the river has of its own accord spread 
itself over the fields and withdrawn again to 
its bed, and then sows his plot of ground, and 
after sowing turns his swine into it the swine 
tread in the corn after which he has only to 
await the harvest. The swine serve him also 
to thrash the grain, which is then carried to 
the garner. 

15. If then we choose to adopt the views of 
the lonians concerning Egypt, we must come 



BOOK ii 

to the conclusion that the Egyptians had form- 
erly no country at all. For the lonians say that 
nothing is really Egypt but the Delta, which 
extends along shore from the Watch-tower of 
Perseus, as it is called, to the Pelusiac Salt-Pans, 
a distance of forty schcenes, and stretches in- 
land as far as the city of Cercasorus, where the 
Nile divides into the two streams which reach 
the sea at Pelusium and Canobus respectively. 
The rest of what is accounted Egypt belongs, 
they say, either to Arabia or Libya. But the 
Delta, as the Egyptians affirm, and as I myself 
am persuaded, is formed of the deposits of the 
river, and has only recently, if I may use the 
expression, come to light. If, then, they had 
formerly no territory at all, how came they to 
be so extravagant as to fancy themselves the 
most ancient race in the world? Surely there 
was no need of their making the experiment 
with the children to see what language they 
would first speak. But in truth I do not believe 
that the Egyptians came into being at the same 
time with the Delta, as the lonians call it; I 
think they have always existed ever since the 
human race began; as the land went on in- 
creasing, part of the population came down 
into the new country, part remained in their 
old settlements. In ancient times the Thebais 
bore the name of Egypt, a district of which the 
entire circumference is but 6120 furlongs. 

1 6. If, then, my judgment on these matters 
be right, the lonians are mistaken in what they 
say ofr Egypt. If, on the contrary, it is they who 
are right, then I undertake to show that neither 
the lonians nor any ot the other Greeks know 
how to count. For they all say that the earth is 
divided into three parts, Europe, Asia, and 
Libya, whereas they ought to add a fourth part, 
the Delta of Egypt, since they do not include it 
either in Asia or Libya. For is it not their 
theory that the Nile separates Asia from Lib- 
ya? As the Nile, therefore, splits in two at the 
apex of the Delta, the Delta itself must be a 
separate country, not contained in either Asia 
or Libya. 

17. Here I take my leave of the opinions of 
the lonians, and proceed to deliver my own 
sentiments on these subjects. I consider Egypt 
to be the whole country inhabited by the Egyp- 
tians, just as Cilicia is the tract occupied by the 
Cilicians, and Assyria that possessed by the As- 
syrians. And I regard the only proper boun- 
dary-line between Libya and Asia to be that 
which is marked out by the Egyptian frontier. 
For if we take the boundary-line commonly re- 
ceived by the Greeks, we must regard Egypt 

as divided, along its whole length from Ele- 
phantine and the Cataracts to Cercasorus, into 
two parts, each belonging to a different por- 
tion of the world, one to Asia, the other to Lib- 
ya; since the Nile divides Egypt in two from 
the Cataracts to the sea, running as far as the 
city of Cercasorus in a single stream, but at that 
point separating into three branches, whereof 
the one which bends eastward is called the Pel- 
usiac mouth, and that which slants to the west, 
the Canobic. Meanwhile the straight course of 
the stream, which comes down from the upper 
country and meets the apex of the Delta, con- 
tinues on, dividing the Delta down the middle, 
and empties itself into the sea by a mouth, 
which is as celebrated, and carries as large a 
body of water, as most of the others, the mouth 
called the Sebennytic. Besides these there are 
two other mouths which run out of the Seben- 
nytic called respectively the Saitic and the Men- 
dcsian. The Bolbitme mouth, and the Bucolic, 
are not natural branches, but channels made by 

18. My judgment as to the extent of Egypt 
is confirmed by an oracle delivered at the 
shrmc of Ammon, of which I had no knowl- 
edge at all until after I had formed my opin- 
ion. It happened that the people of the cities 
Marea and Apis, who live in the part of Egypt 
that borders on Libya, took a dislike to the re- 
ligious usages of the country concerning sac- 
rificial animals, and wished no longer to be re- 
stricted rrom eating the flesh of cows. So, as 
they believed themselves to be Libyans and not 
Egyptians, they sent to the shrine to say that, 
having nothing in common with the Egyp- 
tians, neither inhabiting the Delta nor using 
the Egyptian tongue, they claimed to be al- 
lowed to eat whatever they pleased. Their re- 
quest, however, was refused by the god, who 
declared in reply that Egypt was the entire 
tract of country which the Nile overspreads 
and irrigates, and the Egyptians were the peo- 
ple who lived below Elephantine, and drank 
the waters of that river. 

19. So said the oracle. Now the Nile, when 
it overflows, floods not only the Delta, but also 
the tracts of country on both sides the stream 
which are thought to belong to Libya and Ara- 
bia, in some places reaching to the extent of 
two days' journey from its banks, in some even 
exceeding that distance, but in others falling 
short of it. 

Concerning the nature of the river, I was not 
able to gain any information either from the 
priests or from others. I was particularly anx- 


ious to learn from them why the Nile, at the 
commencement of the summer solstice, begins 
to rise, and continues to increase for a hundred 
days and why, as soon as that number is past, 
it forthwith retires and contracts its stream, 
continuing low during the whole of the winter 
until the summer solstice comes round again. 
On none of these points could I obtain any ex- 
planation from the inhabitants, though I made 
every inquiry, wishing to know what was com- 
monly reported they could neither tell me 
what special virtue the Nile has which makes 
it so opposite in its nature to all other streams, 
nor why, unlike every other river, it gives forth 
no breezes from its surface. 

20. Some of the Greeks, however, wishing 
to get a reputation for cleverness, have offered 
explanations of the phenomena of the river, 
for which they have accounted in three differ- 
ent ways. Two of these I do not think it worth 
while to speak of, further than simply to men- 
tion what they are. One pretends that the Ete- 
sian winds cause the rise of the river by pre- 
venting the Nile- water from running off into 
the sea. But in the first place it has often hap- 
pened, when the Etesian winds did not blow, 
that the Nile has risen according to its usual 
wont; and further, if the Etesian winds pro- 
duced the effect, the other rivers which flow in 
a direction opposite to those winds ought to 
present the same phenomena as the Nile, and 
the more so as they are all smaller streams, and 
have a weaker current. But these rivers, of 
which there are many both in Syria and Libya, 
are entirely unlike the Nile in this respect. 

21. The second opinion is even more unsci- 
entific than the one just mentioned, and also, 
if I may so say, more marvellous. It is that the 
Nile acts so strangely, because it flows from the 
ocean, and that the ocean flows all round the 

22. The third explanation, which is very 
much more plausible than either of the others, 
is positively the furthest from the truth; for 
there is really nothing in what it says, any more 
than in the other theories. It is, that the inun- 
dation of the Nile is caused by the melting of 
snows. 1 Now, as the Nile flows out of Libya, 
through Ethiopia, into Egypt, how is it possible 
that it can be formed of melted snow, running, 

1 Herodotus is wrong in supposing snow could 
not be found on mountains in the hot climate of 
Africa; perpetual snow is not confined to certain 
latitudes; and ancient and modern discoveries 
prove that it is found in the ranges S. of Abys- 



as it docs, from the hottest regions of the world 
into cooler countries? Many are the proofs 
whereby any one capable of reasoning on the 
subject may be convinced that it is most un- 
likely this should be the case. The first and 
strongest argument is furnished by the winds, 
which always blow hot from these regions. The 
second is that rain and frost are unknown 
there. 2 Now whenever snow falls, it must of 
necessity rain within five days; so that, if there 
were snow, there must be rain also in those 
parts. Thirdly, it is certain that the natives of 
the country are black with the heat, that the 
kites and the swallows remain there the whole 
year, and that the cranes, when they fly from 
the rigours of a Scythian winter, flock thither 
to pass the cold season. If then, in the country 
whence the Nile has its source, or in that 
through which it flows, there fell ever so little 
snow, it is absolutely impossible that any of 
these circumstances could take place. 

23. As for the writer 3 who attributes the 
phenomenon to the ocean, his account is in- 
volved in such obscurity that it is impossible 
to disprove it by argument. For my part I 
know of no river called Ocean, and I think that 
Homer, or one of the earlier poets, invented the 
name, and introduced it into his poetry. 

24. Perhaps, after censuring all the opinions 
that have been put forward on this obscure sub- 
ject, one ought to propose some theory of one's 
own. I will therefore proceed to explain what 
I think to be the reason of the Nile's swelling 
in the summer time. During the winter, the 
sun is driven out of his usual course by the 
storms, and removes to the upper parts of Lib- 
ya. This is the whole secret in the fewest possi- 
ble words; for it stands to reason that the coun- 
try to which the Sun-god approaches the near- 
est, and which he passes most directly over, 
will be scantest of water, and that there the 
streams which feed the rivers will shrink the 

25. To explain, however, more at length, the 
case is this. The sun, in his passage across the 
upper parts of Libya, affects them in the fol- 
lowing way. As the air in those regions is con- 
stantly clear, and the country warm through 
the absence of cold winds, the sun in his 
passage across them acts upon them exact- 
ly as he is wont to act elsewhere in summer, 
when his path is in the middle of heaven that 

2 Herodotus was not aware of the rainy season 
in Sennar and the S.S.W. of Abyssinia, nor did he 
know of the Abyssinian snow. 

3 Hecafeeus. 



[BOOK ii 

is, he attracts the water. After attracting it, he 
again repels it into the upper regions, where 
the winds lay hold of it, scatter it, and reduce 
it to a vapour, whence it naturally enough 
comes to pass that the winds which blow from 
this quarter the south and south-west are of 
all winds the most rainy. And my own opinion 
is that the sun does not get rid of all the water 
which he draws year by year from the Nile, 
but retains some about him. When the winter 
begins to soften, the sun goes back again to his 
old place in the middle of the heaven, and pro- 
ceeds to attract water equally from all coun- 
tries. Till then the other rivers run big, from 
the quantity of rain-water which they bring 
down from countries where so much moisture 
falls that all the land is cut into gullies; but in 
summer, when the showers fail, and the sun at- 
tracts their water, they become low. The Nile, 
on the contrary, not deriving any of its bulk 
Irom rains, and being in winter subject to the 
attraction of the sun, naturally runs at that sea- 
son, unlike all other streams, with a less bur- 
then oi water than in the summer time. For in 
summer it is exposed to attraction equally with 
all other rivers, but in winter it suffers alone. 
The sun, therefore, I regard as the sole cause 
oi the phenomenon. 

26. It is the sun also, in my opinion, which, 
by heating the space through which it passes, 
makes the air in Egypt so dry. There is thus 
fKTpctual summer in the upper parts of Libya. 
Were the position of the heavenly regions re- 
versed, so that the place where now the north 
wind and the winter have their dwelling be- 
came the station of the south wind and of the 
noon-day, while, on the other hand, the sta- 
tion ot the south wind became that of the 
north, the consequence would be that the sun, 
driven from the mid-heaven by the winter and 
the northern gales, would betake himself to 
the upper parts of Europe, as he now does to 
those of Libya, and then I believe his passage 
across Europe would affect the Istcr exactly as 
the Nile is affected at the present day. 

27. And with respect to the fact that no 
brcc/c blows from the Nile, I am of opinion 
that no wind is likely to arise in very hot coun- 
tries, for breezes love to blow from some cold 

28. Let us leave these things, however, to 
their natural course, to continue as they are and 
ha\e been from the beginning. With regard to 
the sow ccs of the Nile, I have found no one 
among all those with whom I have conversed, 
\\ hethcr Egyptians, Libyans, or Greeks, who 

professed to have any knowledge, except a sin- 
gle person. He was the scribe who kept the reg- 
ister of the sacred treasures of Minerva in the 
city of Sais, and he did not seem to me to be in 
earnest when he said that he knew them per- 
fectly well. His story was as follows: "Be- 
tween Syene, a city of the Thebais, and Ele- 
phantine, there are" (he said) "two hills with 
sharp conical tops; the name of the one is Cro- 
phi, of the other, Mophi. Midway between 
them are the fountains of the Nile, fountains 
which it is impossible to fathom. Half the 
water runs northward into Egypt, half to the 
south towards Ethiopia." The fountains were 
known to be unfathomable, he declared, be- 
cause Psammctichus, an Egyptian king, had 
made trial of them. He had caused a rope to be 
made, many thousand fathoms in length, and 
had sounded the fountain with it, but could 
find no bottom. By this the scribe gave me to 
understand, if there was any truth at all in 
what he said, that in this fountain there are 
certain strong eddies, and a regurgitation, ow- 
ing to the force wherewith the water dashes 
against the mountains, and hence a sounding- 
line cannot be got to reach the bottom of the 

29. No other information on this head could 
I obtain from any quarter. All that I succeeded 
in learning further of the more distant por- 
tions of: the Nile, by ascending myself as high 
as Elephantine, and making inquiries concern- 
ing the parts beyond, was the following: As 
one advances beyond Elephantine, the land 
rises. Hence it is necessary in this part of the 
river to attach a rope to the boat on each side, 
as men harness an ox, and so proceed on the 
journey. If the rope snaps, the vessel is borne 
away down stream by the force of the current. 
The navigation continues the same for four 
days, the river winding greatly, like the Ma-an- 
dcr, and the distance traversed amounting to 
twelve schocnes. Here you come upon a smooth 
and level plain, where the Nile flows in two 
branches, round an island called Tachompso. 
The country above Elephantine is inhabited by 
the Ethiopians, who possess one-half of this 
island, the Egyptians occupying the other. 
Above the island there is a great lake, the 
shores of which are inhabited by Ethiopian no- 
mads; after passing it, you come again to the 
stream of the Nile, which runs into the lake. 
Here you land, and travel for forty days along 
the banks of the river, since it is impossible to 
proceed further in a boat on account of the 
sharp peaks which jut out from the water, and 

26- 3 2] 

the sunken rocks which abound in that part of 
the stream. When you have passed this portion 
of the river in the space of torty days, you go 
on board another boat and proceed by water 
for twelve days more, at the end of which time 
you reach a great city called Meroe, which is 
said to be the capital of the other Ethiopians. 
The only gods worshipped by the inhabitants 
are Jupiter and Bacchus, to whom great hon- 
ours are paid. There is an oracle of Jupiter in 
the city, which directs the warlike expeditions 
of the Ethiopians; when it commands they go 
to war, and in whatever direction it bids them 
march, thither straightway they carry their 

30. On leaving this city, and again mount- 
ing the stream, in the same space of time which 
it took you to reach the capital from Elephan- 
tine, you come to the Deserters, who bear the 
name of Asmach. This word, translated into 
our language, means "the men who stand on 
the left hand of the king." These Deserters are 
Egyptians of the warrior caste, who, to the 
number of two hundred and forty thousand, 
went over to the Ethiopians in the reign of 
king Psammetichus. The cause of their deser- 
tion was the following: Three garrisons were 
maintained in Egypt at that time, one in the 
city of Elephantine against the Ethiopians, an- 
other in the Pclusiac Daphnx, against the Syri- 
ans and Arabians, and a third, against the Lib- 
yans, in Marea. (The very same posts are to this 
day occupied by the Persians, whose forces are 
in garrison both in Daphnx and in Elephan- 
tine.) Now it happened, that on one occasion 
the garrisons were not relieved during the 
space of three years; the soldiers, therefore, at 
the end of that time, consulted together, and 
having determined by common consent to re- 
volt, marched away towards Ethiopia. Psam- 
metichus, informed of the movement, set out 
in pursuit, and coming up with them, besought 
them with many words not to desert the gods 
of their country, nor abandon their wives and 
children. "Nay, but," said one of the deserters 
with an unseemly gesture, "wherever we go, 
we are sure enough of finding wives and chil- 
dren." Arrived in Ethiopia, they placed them- 
selves at the disposal of the king. In return, he 
made them a present of a tract of land which 
belonged to certain Ethiopians with whom he 
was at feud, bidding them expel the inhabitants 
and take possession of their territory. From 
the time that this settlement was formed, their 
acquaintance with Egyptian manners has tend- 
ed to civilise the Ethiopians. 



31. Thus the course of the Nile is known, 
not only throughout Egypt, but to the extent 
of four months' journey cither by land or water 
above the Egyptian boundary; for on calcula- 
tion it will be found that it takes that length of 
time to travel from Elephantine to the country 
of the Deserters. There the direction of the riv- 
er is from west to east. Beyond, no one has any 
certain knowledge of its course, since the coun- 
try is uninhabited by reason of the excessive heat. 

32. I did hear, indeed, what I will now re- 
late, from certain natives of Gyrene. Once upon 
a time, they said, they were on a visit to the 
oracular shrine of Ammon, when it chanced 
that in the course of conversation with Etear- 
chus, the Arnmoman king, the talk fell upon 
the Nile, how that its sources were unknown to 
all men. Etearchus upon this mentioned that 
some Nasamomans had once come to his court, 
and when asked if they could give any infor- 
mation concerning the uninhabited parts of 
Libya, had told the following tale. (The Nasa- 
monians are a Libyan race who occupy the Syr- 
tis, and a tract of no great size towards the 
east.) They said there had grown up among 
them some wild young men, the sons of cer- 
tain chiefs, who, when they came to man's es- 
tate, indulged in all manner of extravagancies, 
and among other things drew lots for five of 
their number to go and explore the desert parts 
of Libya, and try if they could not penetrate 
further than any had done previously. The 
coast of Libya along the sea which washes it to 
the north, throughout its entire length from 
Egypt to Cape Solocis, 1 which is its furthest 
point, is inhabited by Libyans of many distinct 
tribes who possess the whole tract except cer- 
tain portions which belong to the Phoenicians 
and the Greeks. Above the coast-line and the 
country inhabited by the maritime tribes, Libya 
is full of wild beasts; while beyond the wild 
beast region there is a tract which is wholly 
sand, very scant of water, and utterly and en- 
tirely a desert. The young men therefore, des- 
patched on this errand by their comrades with 
a plentiful supply of water and provisions, 
travelled at first through the inhabited region, 
passing which they came to the wild beast tract, 
whence they finally entered upon the desert, 
which they proceeded to cross in a direction 
from east to west. After journeying for many 
days over a wide extent of sand, they came at 
last to a plain where they observed trees grow- 
ing; approaching them, and seeing fruit on 

1 Cape Spartcl, near Tangier. 



[BOOK ii 

them, they proceeded to gather it. While they 
were thus engaged, there came upon them 
some dwarfish men, under the middle height, 
who seized them and carried them ofl. The 
Nasamomans could not understand a word of 
their language, nor had they any acquaintance 
with the language of the Nasamomans. They 
were led across extensive marshes, and finally 
came to a town, where all the men were of the 
height of their conductors, and black-complex- 
ioned. A great river flowed by the town, running 
from west to east, and containing crocodiles. 

33. Here let me dismiss Etearchus the Am- 
monian, and his story, only adding that (ac- 
cording to the Cyrenacans) he declared that the 
Nasamomans got safe back to their country, 
and that the men whose city they had reached 
were a nation of sorcerers. With respect to the 
river which ran by their town, Etearchus con- 
jectured it to be the Nile; and reason favours 
that view. For the Nile certainly flows out of 
Libya, dividing it down the middle, and as I 
conceive, judging the unknown from the 
known, rises at the same distance from its 
mouth as the Ister. This latter river has its 
source in the country of the Celts near the city 
Pyrene, and runs through the middle of Eu- 
rope, dividing it into two portions. The Celts 
live beyond the pillars of Hercules, and border 
on the Cynesians, who dwell at the extreme 
west of Europe. Thus the Ister flows through 
the whole of Europe before it finally empties 
itself into the Euxine at Istria, one of the col- 
onies of the Milesians. 

34. Now as this river flows through regions 
that are inhabited, its course is perfectly well 
known; but of the sources of the Nile no one 
can give any account, since Libya, the country 
through which it passes, is desert and without 
inhabitants. As far as it was possible to get in- 
formation by inquiry, I have given a descrip- 
tion of the stream. It enters Egypt from the 
parts beyond. Egypt lies almost exactly oppo- 
site the mountainous portion of Cihcia, whence 
a lightly-equipped traveller may reach Sinop 
on the Euxine in five days by the direct route. 
Sinope lies opposite the place where the Ister 
falls into the sea. 1 My opinion therefore is that 
the Nile, as it traverses the whole of Libya, is 
of equal length with the Ister. And here I take 
my leave of this subject. 

'This of course is neither true, nor near the 
truth; and it is difficult to make out in what sense 
Herodotus meant to assert it. Perhaps he attached 
no very distinct geographical meaning to the word 

35. Concerning Egypt itself I shall extend 
my remarks to a great length, because there is 
no country that possesses so many wonders, nor 
any that has such a number of works which 
defy description. Not only is the climate differ- 
ent from that of the rest of the world, and the 
rivers unlike any other rivers, but the people 
also, in most of their manners and customs, 
exactly reverse the common practice of man- 
kind. The women attend the markets and 
trade, while the men sit at home at the loom; 
and here, while the rest of the world works the 
woof up the warp, the Egyptians work it 
down; the women likewise carry burthens 
upon their shoulders, while the men carry them 
upon their heads. They eat their food out of 
doors in the streets, but retire for private pur- 
poses to their houses, giving as a reason that 
what is unseemly, but necessary, ought to be 
done in secret, but what has nothing unseemly 
about it, should be done openly. A woman 
cannot serve the priestly office, either for god or 
goddess, but men are priests to both; sons need 
not support their parents unless they choose, 
but daughters must, whether they choose or no. 

36. In other countries the priests have long 
hair, in Egypt their heads are shaven; else- 
where it is customary, in mourning, for near 
relations to cut their hair close: the Egyptians, 
who wear no hair at any other time, when they 
lose a relative, let their beards and the hair of 
their heads grow long. All other men pass their 
lives separate from animals, the Egyptians have 
animals always living with them; others make 
barley and wheat their food; it is a disgrace to 
do so in Egypt, 2 where the grain they live on is 
spelt, which some call zea. Dough they knead 
with their feet; but they mix mud, and even 
take up dirt, with their hands. They are the 
only people in the world they at least, and 
such as have learnt the practice from them 
who use circumcision. Their men wear two 
garments apiece, their women but one. They 
put on the rings and fasten the ropes to sails 
inside; others put them outside. When they 
write or calculate, instead of going, like the 
Greeks, from left to right, they move their 
hand from right to left; and they insist, not- 
withstanding, that it is they who go to the 
right, and the Greeks who go to the left. They 
have two quite different kinds of writing, one 
of which is called sacred, the other common. 

37. They are religious to excess, far beyond 
any other race of men, and use the following 
ceremonies: They drink out of brazen cups, 

2 This statement is contrary to fact 




which they scour every day: there is no excep- 
tion to this practice. They wear linen garments, 
which they are specially careful to have always 
fresh washed. They practise circumcision for 
the sake of cleanliness, considering it better to 
be cleanly than comely. The priests shave their 
whole body every other day, that no lice or 
other impure thing may adhere to them when 
they are engaged in the service of the gods. 
Their dress is entirely of linen, and their shoes 
of the papyrus plant: it is not lawful for them 
to wear either dress or shoes of any other ma- 
terial. They bathe twice every day in cold wa- 
ter, and twice each night; besides which they 
observe, so to speak, thousands of ceremonies. 
They enjoy, however, not a few advantages. 
They consume none of their own property, and 
are at no expense for anything; but every day 
bread is baked for them of the sacred corn, and 
a plentiful supply of beef and of goose's flesh 
is assigned to each, and also a portion of wine 
made from the grape. Fish they are not allowed 
to eat; and beans which none of the Egyp- 
tians ever sow, or eat, if they come up of their 
own accord, cither raw or boiled the priests 
will not even endure to look on, since they con- 
sider it an unclean kind of pulse. Instead of a 
single priest, each god has the attendance of a 
college, at the head of which is a chief priest; 
when one of these dies, his son is appointed in 
his room. 

38. Male kine are reckoned to belong to Ep- 
aphus, and are therefore tested in the following 
manner: One of the priests appointed for the 
purpose searches to see if there is a single black 
hair on the whole body, since in that case the 
beast is unclean. He examines him all over, 
standing on his legs, and again laid upon his 
back; after which he takes the tongue out of 
his mouth, to see if it be clean in respect of the 
prescribed marks (what they are I will men- 
tion elsewhere); he also inspects the hairs of 
the tail, to observe if they grow naturally. If 
the animal is pronounced clean in all these var- 
ious points, the priest marks him by twisting a 
piece of papyrus round his horns, and attach- 
ing thereto some sealing-clay, which he then 
stamps with his own signet-ring. After this the 
beast is led away; and it is forbidden, under the 
penalty of death, to sacrifice an animal which 
has not been marked in this way. 

39. The following is their manner of sacri- 
fice: They lead the victim, marked with their 
signet, to the altar where they are about to 
offer it, and setting the wood alight, pour a 
libation of wine upon the altar in front of the 

victim, and at the same time invoke the god. 
Then they slay the animal, and cutting off his 
head, proceed to flay the body. Next they take 
the head, and heaping imprecations on it, if 
there is a market-place and a body of Greek 
traders in the city, they carry it there and sell it 
instantly; if, however, there are no Greeks 
among them, they throw the head into the riv- 
er. The imprecation is to this effect: They 
pray that if any evil is impending either over 
those who sacrifice, or over universal Egypt, it 
may be made to fall upon that head. These 
practices, the imprecations upon the heads, and 
the libations of wine, prevail all over Egypt, 
and extend to victims of all sorts; and hence 
the Egyptians will never eat the head of any an- 

40. The disembowelling and burning are, 
however, different in different sacrifices. I will 
mention the mode in use with respect to the 
goddess whom they regard as the greatest, and 
honour with the chiefest festival. When they 
have flayed their steer they pray, and when 
their prayer is ended they take the paunch of 
the animal out entire, leaving the intestines 
and the fat inside the body; they then cut off 
the legs, the ends of the loins, the shoulders, 
and the neck; and having so done, they fill the 
body of the steer with clean bread, honey, rai- 
sins, figs, frankincense, myrrh, and other aro- 
matics. Thus filled, they burn the body, pour- 
ing over it great quantities of oil. Before offer- 
ing the sacrifice they fast, and while the bodies 
of the victims are being consumed they beat 
themselves. Afterwards, when they have con- 
cluded this part of the ceremony, they have the 
other parts of the victim served up to them for 
a repast. 

41. The male kine, therefore, if clean, and 
the male calves, are used for sacrifice by the 
Egyptians universally; but the females they are 
not allowed to sacrifice, since they are sacred to 
Isis. The statue of this goddess has the form of 
a woman but with horns like a cow, resembling 
thus the Greek representations of lo; and the 
Egyptians, one and all, venerate cows much 
more highly than any other animal. This is the 
reason why no native of Egypt, whether man 
or woman, will give a Greek a kiss, or use the 
knife of a Greek, or his spit, or his cauldron, or 
taste the flesh of an ox, known to be pure, if it 
has been cut with a Greek knife. When kine 
die, the following is the manner of their sepul- 
ture: The females are thrown into the river; 
the males are buried in the suburbs of the 
towns, with one or both of their horns appear- 



[BOOK ii 

ing above the surface of the ground to mark the 
place. When the bodies are decayed, a boat 
comes, at an appointed time, from the island 
called Prosopitis, which is a portion of the 
Delta, nine schcenes in circumference, and 
calls at the several cities in turn to collect the 
bones of the oxen. Prosopitis is a district con- 
taining several cities; the name of that from 
which the boats come is Atarbechis. Venus has 
a temple there of much sanctity. Great num- 
bers of men go forth from this city and proceed 
to the other towns, where they dig up the 
bones, which they take away with them and 
bury together in one place. The same practice 
prevails with respect to the interment of all 
other cattle the law so determining; they do 
not slaughter any of them. 

42. Such Egyptians as possess a temple of 
the Theban Jove, or live in the Thebaic canton, 
offer no sheep in sacrifice, but only goats; for 
the Egyptians do not all worship the same 
gods, excepting Isis and Osiris, the latter of 
whom they say is the Grecian Bacchus. Those, 
on the contrary, who possess a temple dedicat- 
ed to Mendes, or belong to the Mendesian can- 
ton, abstain from offering goats, and sacrifice 
sheep instead. The Thebans, and such as imi- 
tate them in their practice, give the following 
account of the origin of the custom: "Her- 
cules," they say, "wished of all things to see 
Jove, but Jove did not choose to be seen of him. 
At length, when Hercules persisted, Jove hit on 
a device to flay a ram, and, cutting off his 
head, hold the head before him, and cover him- 
self with the fleece. In this guise he showed 
himself to Hercules." Therefore the Egyptians 
give their statues of Jupiter the face of a ram: 
and from them the practice has passed to the 
Ammonians, who are a joint colony of Egyp- 
tians and Ethiopians, speaking a language be- 
tween the two; hence also, in my opinion, the 
latter people took their name of Ammonians, 
since the Egyptian name for Jupiter is Amun. 
Such, then, is the reason why the Thebans do 
not sacrifice rams, but consider them sacred an- 
imals. Upon one day in the year, however, at 
the festival of Jupiter, they slay a single ram, 
and stripping off the fleece, cover with it the 
statue of that god, as he once covered himself, 
and then bring up to the statue of Jove an im- 
age of Hercules. When this has been done, the 
whole assembly beat their breasts in mourning 
for the ram, and afterwards bury him in a holy 

43. The account which I received of this 
Hercules makes him one of the twelve gods. Of 

the other Hercules, with whom the Greeks are 
familiar, I could hear nothing in any part of 
Egypt. That the Greeks, however (those I 
mean who gave the son of Amphitryon that 
name), took the name 1 from the Egyptians, 
and not the Egyptians from the Greeks, is I 
think clearly proved, among other arguments, 
by the fact that both the parents of Hercules, 
Amphitryon as well as Alcmena, were of Egyp- 
tian origin. Again, the Egyptians disclaim all 
knowledge of the names of Neptune and the 
Dioscuri, and do not include them in the num- 
ber of their gods; but had they adopted the 
name of any god from the Greeks, these would 
have been the likeliest to obtain notice, since 
the Egyptians, as I am well convinced, prac- 
tised navigation at that time, and the Greeks 
also were some of them mariners, so that they 
would have been more likely to know the 
names of these gods than that of Hercules. But 
the Egyptian Hercules is one of their ancient 
gods. Seventeen thousand years before the 
reign of Amasis, the twelve gods were, they 
affirm, produced from the eight: and of these 
twelve, Hercules is one. 

44. In the wish to get the best information 
that I could on these matters, I made a voyage 
to Tyre in Phoenicia, hearing there was a tem- 
ple of Hercules at that place, very highly ven- 
erated. I visited the temple, and found it richly 
adorned with a number of offerings, among 
which were two pillars, one of pure gold, the 
other of emerald, shining with great brilliancy 
at night. In a conversation which 1 held with 
the priests, I inquired how long their temple 
had been built, and found by their answer that 
they, too, differed from the Greeks. They said 
that the temple was built at the same time that 
the city was founded, and that the foundation 
of the city took place two thousand three hun- 
dred years ago. In Tyre I remarked another 
temple where the same god was worshipped as 
the Thasian Hercules. So I went on to Thasos, 
where I found a temple of Hercules which had 
been built by the Phoenicians who colonised 
that island when they sailed in search of Eu- 
ropa. Even this was five generations earlier 
than the time when Hercules, son of Amphi- 
tryon, was born in Greece. These researches 
show plainly that there is an ancient god Her- 
cules; and my own opinion is that those 
Greeks act most wisely who build and main- 
tain two temples of Hercules, in the one of 

1 It is scarcely necessary to say that no Egyptian 
god has a name from which that of Hercules can 
by any possibility have been formed. 




which the Hercules worshipped is known by 
the name of Olympian, and has sacrifice of- 
fered to him as an immortal, while in the other 
the honours paid are such as are due to a hero. 

45. The Greeks tell many tales without due 
investigation, and among them the following 
silly fable respecting Hercules: "Hercules," 
they say, "went once to Egypt, and there the 
inhabitants took him, and putting a chaplet on 
his head, led him out in solemn procession, in- 
tending to offer him a sacrifice to Jupiter. For 
a while he submitted quietly; but when they 
led him up to the altar and began the ceremon- 
ies, he put forth his strength and slew them 
all.'* Now to me it seems that such a story 
proves the Greeks to be utterly ignorant of the 
character and customs of the people. The 
Egyptians do not think it allowable even to sac- 
rifice cattle, excepting sheep, and the male kine 
and calves, provided they be pure, and also 
geese. How, then, can it be believed that they 
would sacrifice men? And again, how would 
it have been possible for Hercules alone, and, 
as they confess, a mere mortal, to destroy so 
many thousands? In saying thus much con- 
cerning these matters, may I incur no displeas- 
ure either of god or hero! 

46. I mentioned above that some of the 
Egyptians abstain from sacrificing goats, either 
male or female. The reason is the following: 
These Egyptians, who are the Mendesians, con- 
sider Pan to be one of the eight gods who ex- 
isted before the twelve, and Pan is represented 
in Egypt by the painters and the sculptors, just 
as he is in Greece, with the face and legs of a 
goat. They do not, however, believe this to be 
his shape, or consider him in any respect unlike 
the other gods; but they represent him thus for 
a reason which I prefer not to relate. The Men- 
desians hold all goats in veneration, but the 
male more than the female, giving the goat- 
herds of the males especial honour. One is ven- 
erated more highly than all the rest, and when 
he dies there is a great mourning throughout 
all the Mendesian canton. In Egyptian, the goat 
and Pan are both called Mendes. 

47. The pig is regarded among them as an un- 
clean animal, so much so that if a man in passing 
accidentally touch a pig, he instantly hurries to 
the river,and plunges in with all his clothes on. 
Hence, too, the swineherds, notwithstanding 
that they are of pure Egyptian blood, are for- 
bidden to enter into any of the temples, which 
are open to all other Egyptians; and further, no 
one will give his daughter in marriage to a 
swineherd, or take a wife from among them, 

so that the swineherds are forced to intermarry 
among themselves. They do not offer swine in 
sacrifice to any of their gods, excepting Bacchus 
and the Moon, whom they honour in this way 
at the same time, sacrificing pigs to both of 
them at the same full moon, and afterwards 
eating of the flesh. There is a reason alleged by 
them for their detestation of swine at all other 
seasons, and their use of them at this festival, 
with which I am well acquainted, but which I 
do not think it proper to mention. The follow- 
ing is the mode in which they sacrifice the 
swine to the Moon: As soon as the victim is 
slain, the tip of the tail, the spleen, and the caul 
are put together, and having been covered with 
all the fat that has been tound in the animal's 
belly, are straightway burnt. The remainder of 
the flesh is eaten on the same day that the sacri- 
fice is offered, which is the day of the full 
moon: at any other time they would not so 
much as taste it. The poorer sort, who cannot 
afford live pigs, form pigs of dough, which 
they bake and offer in sacrifice. 

48. To Bacchus, on the eve of his feast, every 
Egyptian sacrifices a hog before the door of his 
house, which is then given back to the swine- 
herd by whom it was furnished, and by him 
carried away. In other respects the festival is 
celebrated almost exactly as Bacchic festivals 
are in Greece, excepting that the Egyptians 
have no choral dances. They also use instead of 
phalli another invention, consisting of images 
a cubit high, pulled by strings, which the wo- 
men carry round to the villages. A piper goes 
in front, and the women follow, singing hymns 
in honour of Bacchus. They give a religious 
reason for the peculiarities of the image. 

49. Melampus, the son of Amytheon, cannot 
(I think) have been ignorant of this ceremony 
nay, he must, I should conceive, have been 
well acquainted with it. He it was who intro- 
duced into Greece the name of Bacchus, the 
ceremonial of his worship, and the procession 
of the phallus. He did not, however, so com- 
pletely apprehend the whole doctrine as to be 
able to communicate it entirely, but various 
sages since his time have carried out his teach- 
ing to greater perfection. Still it is certain that 
Melampus introduced the phallus, and that the 
Greeks learnt from him the ceremonies which 
they now practise. I therefore maintain that 
Melampus, who was a wise man, and had ac- 
quired the art of divination, having become 
acquainted with the worship of Bacchus 
through knowledge derived from Egypt, intro- 
duced it into Greece, with a few slight changes, 



[ BOOK ii 

at the same time that he brought in various 
other practices. For I can by no means allow 
that it is by mere coincidence that the Bacchic 
ceremonies in Greece are so nearly the same as 
the Egyptian they would then have been 
more Greek in their character, and less recent 
in their origin. Much less can I admit that the 
Egyptians borrowed these customs, or any oth- 
er, from the Greeks. My belief is that Melam- 
pus got his knowledge of them from Cadmus 
the Tyrian, and the followers whom he 
brought from Phoenicia into the country which 
is now called Bccotia. 

50. Almost all the names of the gods came 
into Greece from Egypt. My inquiries prove 
that they were all derived from a foreign 
source, and rny opinion is that Egypt furnished 
the greater number. For with the exception of 
Neptune and the Dioscuri, whom I mentioned 
above, and Juno, Vesta, Themis, the Graces, 
and the Nereids, the other gods have been 
known from lime immemorial in Egypt. This 
I assert on the authority of the Egyptians them- 
selves. The gods, with whose names they pro- 
fess themselves unacquainted, the Greeks re- 
ceived, I believe, irom the Pclasgi, except Nep- 
tune. Of him they got their knowledge from 
the Libyans, by whom he has been always hon- 
oured, and who were anciently the only people 
that had a god of the name. The Egyptians 
differ from the Greeks also in paying no divine 
honours to heroes. 

5 1 . Besides these which have been here men- 
tioned, there are many other practices whereof 
I shall speak hereafter, which the Greeks have 
borrowed from Egypt. The peculiarity, how- 
ever, which they observe in their statues of 
Mercury they did not derive from the Egyp- 
tians, but from the Pelasgi; from them the 
Athenians first adopted it, and afterwards it 
passed from the Athenians to the other Greeks. 
For just at the time when the Athenians were 
entering into the Hellenic body, the Pclasgi 
came to live with them in their country, 
whence it was that the latter came first to be 
regarded as Greeks. Whoever has been init- 
iated into the mysteries of the Cabiri will un- 
derstand what I mean. The Samothracians re- 
ceived these mysteries from the Pelasgi, who, 
before they went to live in Attica, were dwell- 
ers in Samothrace, and imparted their religious 
ceremonies to the inhabitants. The Athenians, 
then, who were the first of all the Greeks to 
make their statues of Mercury in this way, 
learnt the practice from the Pelasgians; and by 
this people a religious account of the matter is 

given, which is explained in the Samothracian 

52. In early times the Pelasgi, as I know by 
information which I got at Dodona, offered 
sacrifices of all kinds, and prayed to the gods, 
but had no distinct names or appellations for 
them, since they had never heard of any. They 
called them gods ( Oeoi y disposers), because 
they had disposed and arranged all things in such 
a beautiful order. After a long lapse of time the 
names of the gods came to Greece from Egypt, 
and the Pelasgi learnt them, only as yet they 
knew nothing of Bacchus, of whom they first 
heard at a much later date. Not long after the 
arrival of the names they sent to consult the 
oracle at Dodona about them. This is the most 
ancient oracle in Greece, and at that time there 
was no other. To their question, "Whether 
they should adopt the names that had been im- 
ported from the foreigners?" the oracle replied 
by recommending their use. Thenceforth m 
their sacrifices the Pelasgi made use of the 
names of the gods, and from them the names 
passed afterwards to the Greeks. 

53. Whence the gods severally sprang, 
whether or no they had all existed from eterni- 
ty, what forms they bore these are questions 
of which the Greeks knew nothing until the 
other day, so to speak. For Homer and Hesiod 
were the first to compose Thcogonies, and give 
the gods their epithets, to allot them their sever- 
al offices and occupations, and describe their 
forms; and they lived but four hundred years 
before my time, as I believe. As for the poets 
who arc thought by some to be earlier than 
these, they are, in my judgment, decidedly later 
writers. In these matters I have the authority of 
the priestesses of Dodona for the former por- 
tion of my statements; what I have said of Ho- 
mer and Hesiod is my own opinion. 

54. The following tale is commonly told in 
Egypt concerning the oracle of Dodona in 
Greece, and that of Ammon in Libya. My in- 
formants on the point were the priests of Ju- 
pitcr at Thebes. They said "that two of the 
sacred women were once carried off from 
Thebes by the Phoenicians, and that the story 
went that one of them was sold into Libya, 
and the other into Greece, and these women 
were the first founders of the oracles in the 
two countries." On my inquiring how they 
came to know so exactly what became of the 
women, they answered, "that diligent search 
had been made after them at the time, but that 
it had not been found possible to discover 
where they were; afterwards, however, they 




received the information which they had 
given me." 

55. This was what I heard from the priests 
at Thebes; at Dodona, however, the women 
who deliver the oracles relate the matter as fol- 
lows: "Two black doves flew away from 
Egyptian Thebes, and while one directed its 
flight to Libya, the other came to them. She 
alighted on an oak, and silting there began to 
speak with a human voice, and told them that 
on the spot where she was, there should hence- 
forth be an oracle of Jove. They understood the 
announcement to be from heaven, so they set 
to work at once and erected the shrine. The 
dove which flew to Libya bade the Libyans to 
establish there the oracle of Ammon." This 
likewise is an oracle of Jupiter. The persons 
from whom I received these particulars were 
three priestesses of the Dodonaeans, the eldest 
Promeneia, the next Timarete, and the young- 
est Nicandra what they said was confirmed 
by the other Dodonieans who dwell around the 

56. My own opinion of these matters is as 
follows: I think that, if it be true that the 
Phoenicians carried off the holy women, and 
sold them for slaves, the one into Libya and the 
other into Greece, or Pelasgia (as it was then 
called), this last must have been sold to the 
Thesprotians. Afterwards, while undergoing 
servitude in those parts, she built under a teal 
oak a temple to Jupiter, her thoughts in her 
new abode reverting as it was likely they 
would do, if she had been an attendant in a 
temple of Jupiter at Thebes to that particular 
god. Then, having acquired a knowledge of 
the Greek tongue, she set up an oracle. She also 
mentioned that her sister had been sold for a 
slave into Libya by the same persons as herself. 

57. The Dodon.rans called the women doves 
because they were foreigners, and seemed to 
them to make a noise like birds. After a while 
the dove spoke with a human voice, because 
the woman, whose foreign talk had previously 
sounded to them like the chattering of a bird, 
acquired the power of speaking what they 
could understand. For how can it be conceived 
possible that a dove should really speak with 
the voice of a man ? Lastly, by calling the dove 
black the Dodonaeans indicated that the wo- 
man was an Egyptian. And certainly the char- 
acter of the oracles at Thebes and Dodona is 
very similar. Besides this form of divination, 
the Greeks learnt also divination by means of 
victims from the Egyptians. 

58. The Egyptians were also the first to in- 

troduce solemn assemblies, processions, and 
litanies to the gods; of all which the Greeks 
were taught the use by them. It seems to me a 
sufficient proof of this that in Egypt these prac- 
tices have been established from remote antiq- 
uity, while in Greece they are only recently 

59. The Egyptians do not hold a single sol- 
emn assembly, but several in the course of the 
year. Of these the chief, which is better at- 
tended than any other, is held at the city of 
Bubastis in honour of Diana. The next in im- 
portance is that which takes place at Busiris, a 
city situated in the very middle of the Delta; it 
is in honour of Isis, who is called in the Greek 
tongue Demeter (Ceres). There is a third great 
festival in Sais to Minerva, a fourth in Helio- 
polis to the Sun, a fifth in Buto to Latona, and 
a sixth in Paprernis to Mars. 

60. The following are the proceedings on 
occasion of the assembly at Bubastis: Men 
and women come sailing all together, vast 
numbers in each boat, many of the women 
with castanets, which they strike, while some 
of the men pipe during the whole time of the 
voyage; the remainder of the voyagers, male 
and female, sing the while, and make a clap- 
ping with their hands. When they arrive op- 
posite any of: the towns upon the banks of the 
stream, they approach the shore, and, while 
some of the women continue to play and sing, 
others call aloud to the females of the place and 
load them with abuse, while a certain number 
dance, and some standing up uncover them- 
selves. After proceeding in this way all along 
the river-course, they reach Bubastis, where 
they celebrate the feast with abundant sacri- 
fices. More grape-wine is consumed at this fes- 
tival than in all the rest of the year besides. The 
number of those who attend, counting only the 
men and women and omitting the children, 
amounts, according to the native reports, to 
seven hundred thousand. 

61. The ceremonies at the feast of Isis in the 
city of Busiris have been already spoken of. It 
is there that the whole multitude, both of men 
and women, many thousands in number, beat 
themselves at the close of the sacrifice, in hon- 
our of a god, whose name a religious scruple 
forbids me to mention. 1 The Carian dwellers 
in Egypt proceed on this occasion to still 
greater lengths, even cutting their faces with 
their knives, whereby they let it been seen that 
they are not Egyptians but foreigners. 

62. At Sai's, when the assembly takes place 
1 Osiris. 




for the sacrifices, there is one night on which 
the inhabitants all burn a multitude of lights 
in the open air round their houses. They use 
lamps in the shape of flat saucers filled with a 
mixture of oil and salt, on the top of which the 
wick floats. These burn the whole night, and 
give to the festival the name of the Feast of 
Lamps. The Egyptians who are absent from 
the festival observe the night of the sacrifice, no 
less than the rest, by a general lighting of 
lamps; so that the illumination is not confined 
to the city of Sai's, but extends over the whole 
of Egypt. And there is a religious reason as- 
signed for the special honour paid to this night, 
as well as for the illumination which acccomp- 
anies it. 

63. At Hcliopolis and Buto the assemblies 
arc merely for the purpose of sacrifice; but at 
Papremis, besides the sacrifices and other rites 
which are performed there as elsewhere, the 
following custom is observed: When the sun 
is getting low, a few only of the priests con- 
tinue occupied about the image of the god, 
while the greater number, armed with wooden 
clubs, take their station at the portal of the 
temple. Opposite to them is drawn up a body 
of men, in number above a thousand, armed, 
like the others, with clubs, consisting of per- 
sons engaged in the performance of their vows. 
The image of the god, which is kept in a small 
wooden shrine covered with plates of gold, is 
conveyed from the temple into a second sacred 
building the day before the festival begins. The 
few priests still in attendance upon the image 
place it, together with the shrine containing it, 
on a four-wheeled car, and begin to drag it 
along; the others stationed at the gateway of 
the temple, oppose its admission. Then the 
votaries come forward to espouse the quarrel of 
the god, and set upon the opponents, who are 
sure to offer resistance. A sharp fight with clubs 
ensues, in which heads are commonly broken 
on both sides. Many, I am convinced, die of the 
wounds that they receive, though the Egyp- 
tians insist that no one is ever killed. 

64. The natives give the subjoined account 
of this festival. They say that the mother of the 
god Mars once dwelt in the temple. Brought up 
at a distance from his parent, when he grew to 
man's estate he conceived a wish to visit her. 
Accordingly he came, but the attendants, who 
had never seen him before, refused him en- 
trance, and succeeded in keeping him out. So 
he went to another city and collected a body of 
men, with whose aid he handled the attendants 
very roughly, and forced his way in to his 

mother. Hence they say arose the custom of a 
fight with sticks in honour of Mars at this fes- 

The Egyptians first made it a point of re- 
ligion to have no converse with women in the 
sacred places, and not to enter them without 
washing, after such converse. Almost all other 
nations, except the Greeks and the Egyptians, 
act differently, regarding man as in this matter 
under no other law than the brutes. Many an- 
imals, they say, and various kinds of birds, may 
be seen to couple in the temples and the sacred 
precincts, which would certainly not happen 
if the gods were displeased at it. Such are the 
arguments by which they defend their practice, 
but I nevertheless can by no means approve of 
it. In these points the Egyptians are specially 
careful, as they are indeed in everything which 
concerns their sacred edifices. 

65. Egypt, though it borders upon Libya, is 
not a region abounding in wild animals. The 
animals that do exist in the country, whether 
domesticated or otherwise, are all regarded as 
sacred. If I were to explain why they are con- 
secrated to the several gods, I should be led to 
speak of religious matters, which I particularly 
shrink from mentioning; the points whereon I 
have touched slightly hitherto have all been in- 
troduced from sheer necessity. Their custom 
with respect to animals is as follows: For 
every kind there are appointed certain guard- 
ians, some male, some female, whose business 
it is to look after them; and this honour is 
made to descend from father to son. The in- 
habitants of the various cities, when they have 
made a vow to any god, pay it to his animals in 
the way which I will now explain. At the time 
of making the vow they shave the head of the 
child, cutting off all the hair, or else half, or 
sometimes a third part, which they then weigh 
in a balance against a sum of silver; and what- 
ever sum the hair weighs is presented to the 
guardian of the animals, who thereupon cuts 
up some fish, and gives it to them for food 
such being the stuff whereon they are fed. 
When a man has killed one of the sacred ani- 
mals, if he did it with malice prepense, he is 
punished with death; if unwittingly, he has to 
pay such a fine as the priests choose to impose. 
When an ibis, however, or a hawk is killed, 
whether it was done by accident or on purpose, 
the man must needs die. 

66. The number of domestic animals in 
Egypt is very great, and would be still greater 
were it not for what befalls the cats. As the fe- 
males, when they have kittened, no longer seek 


the company of the males, these last, to obtain 
once more their companionship, practise a 
curious artifice. They seize the kittens, carry 
them off, and kill them, but do not eat them 
afterwards. Upon this the females, being de- 
prived of their young, and longing to supply 
their place, seek the males once more, since 
they are particularly fond of their offspring. 
On every occasion of a fire in Egypt the strang- 
est prodigy occurs with the cats. The inhabi- 
tants allow the fire to rage as it pleases, while 
they stand about at intervals and watch these 
animals, which, slipping by the men or else 
leaping over them, rush headlong into the 
flames. When this happens, the Egyptians are 
in deep affliction. If a cat dies in a private house 
by a natural death, all the inmates of the house 
shave their eyebrows; on the death of a dog 
they shave the head and the whole of the body. 

67. The cats on their decease are taken to the 
city of Bubastis, where they are embalmed, 
after which they are buried in certain sacred 
repositories. The dogs are interred in the cities 
to which they belong, also in sacred burial- 
places. The same practice obtains with respect 
to the ichneumons; the hawks and shrew-mice, 
on the contrary, are conveyed to the city of 
Buto for burial, and the ibises to Hermopolis. 
The bears, which are scarce in Egypt, and the 
wolves, which are not much bigger than foxes, 
they bury wherever they happen to find them 

68. The following are the peculiarities of the 
crocodile: During the four winter months 
they eat nothing; they are four-footed, and live 
indifferently on land or in the water. The fe- 
male lays and hatches her eggs ashore, passing 
the greater portion of the day on dry land, but 
at night retiring to the river, the water of 
which is warmer than the night-air and the 
dew. Of all known animals this is the one 
which from the smallest size grows to be the 
greatest: for the egg of the crocodile is but little 
bigger than that of the goose, and the young 
crocodile is in proportion to the egg; yet when 
it is full grown, the animal measures frequent- 
ly seventeen cubits and even more. It has the 
eyes of a pig, teeth large and tusk-like, of a size 
proportioned to its frame; unlike any other an- 
imal, it is without a tongue; it cannot move its 
under-jaw, and in this respect too it is singular, 
being the only animal in the world which 
moves the upper-jaw but not the under. It has 
strong claws and a scaly skin, impenetrable 
upon the back. In the water it is blind, but on 
land it is very keen of sight. As it lives chiefly 



in the river, it has the inside of its mouth con- 
stantly covered with leeches; hence it happens 
that, while all the other birds and beasts avoid 
it, with the trochilus it lives at peace, since it 
owes much to that bird: for the crocodile, 
when he leaves the water and comes out upon 
the land, is in the habit of lying with his mouth 
wide open, facing the western breeze: at such 
times the trochilus goes into his mouth and de- 
vours the leeches. This benefits the crocodile, 
who is pleased, and takes care not to hurt the 

69. The crocodile is esteemed sacred by some 
of the Egyptians, by others he is treated as an 
enemy. Those who live near Thebes, and those 
who dwell around Lake Moms, regard them 
with especial veneration. In each of these places 
they keep one crocodile in particular, who is 
taught to be tame and tractable. They adorn 
his ears with ear-rings of molten stone or gold, 
and put bracelets on his fore-paws, giving him 
daily a set portion of bread, with a certain 
number of victims; and, after having thus 
treated him with the greatest possible attention 
while alive, they embalm him when he dies 
and bury him in a sacred repository. The peo- 
ple of Elephantine on the other hand, are so far 
from considering these animals as sacred that 
they even eat their flesh. In the Egyptian lan- 
guage they are not called crocodiles, but 
Champsae. The name of crocodiles was given 
them by the lonians, who remarked their re- 
semblance to the lizards, which in Ionia live in 
the walls and are called crocodiles. 

70. The modes of catching the crocodile are 
many and various. I shall only describe the one 
which seems to me most worthy of mention. 
They bait a hook with a chine of pork and let 
the meat be carried out into the middle of the 
stream, while the hunter upon the bank holds 
a living pig, which he belabours. The croco- 
dile hears its cries, and making for the sound, 
encounters the pork, which he instantly swal- 
lows down. The men on the shore haul, and 
when they have got him to land, the first thing 
the hunter does is to plaster his eyes with mud. 
This once accomplished, the animal is des- 
patched with ease, otherwise he gives great 

71. The hippopotamus, in the canton of Pa- 
premis, is a sacred animal, but not in any other 
part of Egypt. It may be thus described: It is 
a quadruped, cloven-footed, with hoofs like an 
ox, and a flat nose. It has the mane and tail of 
a horse, huge tusks which are very conspic- 
uous, and a voice like a horse's neigh. In size 



[BOOK ii 

it equals the biggest oxen, and its skin is so 
tough that when dried it is made into javelins. 

72. Otters also are found in the Nile, and 
are considered sacred. Only two sorts of fish are 
venerated, that called the lepidotus and the eel. 
These are regarded as sacred to the Nile, as 
likewise among birds is the vulpanser, or fox- 

73. They have also another sacred bird called 
the phoenix, which I myself have never seen, 
except in pictures. Indeed it is a great rarity, 
even in Egypt, only coming there (according 
to the accounts of the people of Heliopolis; 
once in five hundred years, when the old phoe- 
nix dies. Its size and appearance, if it is like 
the pictures, are as follow: The plumage is 
partly red, partly golden, while the general 
make and size are almost exactly that of the 
eagle. They tell a story of what this bird does, 
which does not seem to me to be credible: that 
he comes all the way from Arabia, and brings 
the parent bird, all plastered over with myrrh, 
to the temple of the Sun, and there buries the 
body. In order to bring him, they say, he first 
forms a ball of myrrh as big as he finds that he 
can carry; then he hollows out the ball, and 
puts his parent inside, after which he covers 
over the opening with fresh myrrh, and the 
ball is then of exactly the same weight as at 
first; so he brings it to Egypt, plastered over as 
I have said, and deposits it in the temple of the 
Sun. Such is the story they tell of the doings of 
this bird. 

74. In the neighbourhood of Thebes there are 
some sacred serpents which are perfectly harm- 
less. They are of small size, and have two horns 
growing out of the top of the head. These 
snakes, when they die, are buried in the temple 
of Jupiter, the god to whom they are sacred. 

75. I went once to a certain place in Arabia, 
almost exactly opposite the city of Buto, to 
make inquiries concerning the winged ser- 
pents. On my arrival I saw the back-bones and 
ribs of serpents in such numbers as it is im- 
possible to describe: of the ribs there were a 
multitude of heaps, some great, some small, 
some middle-sized. The place where the bones 
lie is at the entrance of a narrow gorge between 
steep mountains, which there open upon a 
spacious plain communicating with the great 
plain of Egypt. The story goes that with the 
spring the winged snakes come flying from 
Arabia towards Egypt, but are met in this 
gorge by the birds called ibises, who forbid 
their entrance and destroy them all. The Arab- 
ians assert, and the Egyptians also admit, that 

it is on account of the service thus rendered 
that the Egyptians hold the ibis in so much 

76. The ibis is a bird of a deep-black colour, 
with legs like a crane; its beak is strongly 
hooked, and its size is about that of the land- 
rail. This is a description of the black ibis 
which contends with the serpents. The com- 
moner sort, for there are two quite distinct 
species, has the head and the whole throat bare 
of feathers; its general plumage is white, but 
the head and neck are jet black, as also are the 
tips of the wings and the extremity of the tail; 
in its beak and legs it resembles the other spe- 
cies. The winged serpent is shaped like the 
water-snake. Its wings are not feathered, but 
resemble very closely those of the bat. And thus 
I conclude the subject of the sacred animals. 

77. With respect to the Egyptians them- 
selves, it is to be remarked that those who live 
in the corn country, devoting themselves, as 
they do, far more than any other people in the 
world, to the preservation of the memory of 
past actions, are the best skilled in history of 
any men that I have ever met. The following 
is the mode of life habitual to them: For 
three successive days in each month they purge 
the body by means of emetics and clysters, 
which is done out of a regard for their health, 
since they have a persuasion that every disease 
to which men are liable is occasioned by the 
substances whereon they feed. Apart from any 
such precautions, they are, I believe, next to 
the Libyans, the healthiest people in the world 
an effect of their climate, in my opinion, 
which has no sudden changes. Diseases almost 
always attack men when they are exposed to 
a change, and never more than during changes 
of the weather. They live on bread made of 
spelt, which they form into loaves called in 
their own tongue cyllSstis. Their drink is a 
wine which they obtain from barley, as they 
have no vines in their country. Many kinds of 
fish they eat raw, either salted or dried in the 
sun. Quails also, and ducks and small birds, 
they eat uncooked, merely first salting them. 
All other birds and fishes, excepting those 
which are set apart as sacred, are eaten either 
roasted or boiled. 

78. In social meetings among the rich, when 
the banquet is ended, a servant carries round 
to the several guests a coffin, in which there is 
a wooden image of a corpse, carved and paint- 
ed to resemble nature as nearly as possible, 
about a cubit or two cubits in length. As he 
shows it to each guest in turn, the servant says, 




"Gaze here, and drink and be merry; for when 
you die, such will you be." 

79. The Egyptians adhere to their own na- 
tional customs, and adopt no foreign usages. 
Many of these customs are worthy of note: 
among others their song, the Linus, which is 
sung under various names not only in Egypt 
but in Phoenicia, in Cyprus, and in other 
places; and which seems to be exactly the same 
as that in use among the Greeks, and by them 
called Linus. There were very many things in 
Egypt which filled me with astonishment, and 
this was one of them. Whence could the Egyp- 
tians have got the Linus? It appears to have 
been sung by them from the very earliest times. 
For the Linus in Egyptian is called Maneros; 
and they told me that Maneros was the only 
son of their first king, and that on his untimely 
death he was honoured by the Egyptians with 
these dirgelike strains, and in this way they 
got their first and only melody. 

80. There is another custom in which the 
Egyptians resemble a particular Greek people, 
namely the Lacedaemonians. Their young men, 
when they meet their elders in the streets, give 
way to them and step aside; and if an elder 
come in where young men are present, these 
latter rise from their seats. In a third point they 
differ entirely from all the nations of Greece. 
Instead of speaking to each other when they 
meet in the streets, they make an obeisance, 
sinking the hand to the knee. 

81. They wear a linen tunic fringed about 
the legs, and called calasiris; over this they have 
a white woollen garment thrown on afterwards. 
Nothing of woollen, however, is taken into 
their temples or buried with them, as their re- 
ligion forbids it. Here their practice resembles 
the rites called Orphic and Bacchic, but which 
are in reality Egyptian and Pythagorean; for 
no one initiated in these mysteries can be 
buried in a woollen shroud, a religious reason 
being assigned for the observance. 

82. The Egyptians likewise discovered to 
which of the gods each month and day is sac- 
red; and found out from the day of a man's 
birth what he will meet with in the course of 
his life, and how he will end his days, and what 
sort of man he will be discoveries whereof 
the Greeks engaged in poetry have made a use. 
The Egyptians have also discovered more 
prognostics than all the rest of mankind be- 
sides. Whenever a prodigy takes place, they 
watch and record the result; then, if anything 
similar ever happens again, they expect the 
same consequences. 

83. With respect to divination, they hold 
that it is a gift which no mortal possesses, but 
only certain of the gods: thus they have an 
oracle of Hercules, one of Apollo, of Minerva, 
of Diana, of Mars, and of Jupiter. Besides 
these, there is the oracle of Latona at Buto, 
which is held in much higher repute than any 
of the rest. The mode of delivering the oracles 
is not uniform, but varies at the different 

84. Medicine is practised among them on a 
plan of separation; each physician treats a 
single disorder, and no more: thus the country 
swarms with medical practitioners, some un- 
dertaking to cure diseases of the eye, others of 
the head, others again of the teeth, others of 
the intestines, and some those which are not 

85. The following is the way in which they 
conduct their mournings and their funerals: 
On the death in any house of a man of con- 
sequence, forthwith the women of the family 
beplaster their heads, and sometimes even 
their faces, with mud; and then, leaving the 
body indoors, sally forth and wander through 
the city, with their dress fastened by a band, 
and their bosoms bare, beating themselves as 
they walk. All the female relations join them 
and do the same. The men too, similarly be- 
girt, beat their breasts separately. When these 
ceremonies are over, the body is carried away 
to be embalmed. 

86. There are a set of men in Egypt who 
practice the art of embalming, and make it 
their proper business. These persons, when a 
body is brought to them, show the bearers vari- 
ous models of corpses, made in wood, and 
painted so as to resemble nature. The most per- 
fect is said to be after the manner of him whom 
I do not think it religious to name in connec- 
tion with such a matter; the second sort is in- 
ferior to the first, and less costly; the third is the 
cheapest of all. All this the embalmers explain, 
and then ask in which way it is wished that 
the corpse should be prepared. The bearers tell 
them, and having concluded their bargain, 
take their departure, while the embalmers, left 
to themselves, proceed to their task. The mode 
of embalming, according to the most perfect 
process, is the following: They take first a 
crooked piece of iron, and with it draw out the 
brain through the nostrils, thus getting rid of 
a portion, while the skull is cleared of the rest 
by rinsing with drugs; next they make a cut 
along the flank with a sharp Ethiopian stone, 
and take out the whole contents of the abdo- 



[BOOK a 

men, which they then cleanse, washing it thor- 
oughly with palm wine, and again frequently 
with an infusion of pounded aromatics. After 
this they fill the cavity with the purest bruised 
myrrh, with cassia, and every other sort of 
spicery except frankincense, and sew up the 
opening. Then the body is placed in natrum 
for seventy days, and covered entirely over. 
After the expiration of that space of time, 
which must not be exceeded, the body is 
washed, and wrapped round, from head to foot, 
with bandages of fine linen cloth, smeared over 
with gum, which is used generally by the Egyp- 
tians in the place of glue, and in this state it 
is given back to the relations, who enclose it in 
a wooden case which they have had made for 
the purpose, shaped into the figure of a man. 
Then fastening the case, they place it in a sepul- 
chral chamber, upright against the wall. Such 
is the most costly way of embalming the dead. 

87. If persons wish to avoid expense, and 
choose the second process, the following is the 
method pursued: Syringes are filled with oil 
made from the cedar-tree, which is then, with- 
out any incision or disembowelling, injected 
into the abdomen. The passage by which it 
might be likely to return is stopped, and the 
body laid in natrum the prescribed number of 
days. At the end of the time the cedar-oil is al- 
lowed to make its escape; and such is its power 
that it brings with it the whole stomach and in- 
testines in a liquid state. The natrum mean- 
while has dissolved the flesh, and so nothing 
is left of the dead body but the skin and the 
bones. It is returned in this condition to the 
relatives, without any further trouble being be- 
stowed upon it. 

88. The third method of embalming, which 
is practised in the case of the poorer classes, is 
to clear out the intestines with a clyster, and let 
the body lie in natrum the seventy days, after 
which it is at once given to those who come to 
fetch it away. 

89. The wives of men of rank are not given 
to be embalmed immediately after death, nor 
indeed are any of the more beautiful and val- 
ued women. It is not till they have been dead 
three or four days that they are carried to the 
embalmcrs. This is done to prevent indignities 
from being offered them. It is said that once a 
case of this kind occurred: the man was de- 
tected by the information of his fellow-work- 


90. Whensoever any one, Egyptian or for- 
eigner, has lost his life by falling a prey to a 
crocodile, or by drowning in the river, the law 

compels the Inhabitants of the city near which 
the body is cast up to have it embalmed, and to 
bury it in one of the sacred repositories with all 
possible magnificence. No one may touch the 
corpse, not even any of the friends or relatives, 
but only the priests of the Nile, who prepare it 
for burial with their own hands regarding it 
as something more than the mere body of a 
man and themselves lay it in the tomb. 

91 . The Egyptians are averse to adopt Greek 
customs, or, in a word, those of any other na- 
tion. This feeling is almost universal among 
them. At Chemmis, however, which is a large 
city in the Thebaic canton, near Neapolis, there 
is a square enclosure sacred to Perseus, son of 
Danae. Palm trees grow all round the place, 
which has a stone gateway of an unusual size, 
surmounted by two colossal statues, also in 
stone. Inside this precinct is a temple, and in 
the temple an image of Perseus. The people of 
Chemmis say that Perseus often appears to 
them, sometimes within the sacred enclosure, 
sometimes in the open country: one of the 
sandals which he has worn is frequently found 
two cubits in length, as they affirm and 
then all Egypt flourishes greatly. In the worship 
of Perseus Greek ceremonies are used; gym- 
nastic games are celebrated in his honour, com- 
prising every kind of contest, with prizes of 
cattle, cloaks, and skins. I made inquiries of the 
Chemmites why it was that Perseus appeared 
to them and not elsewhere in Egypt, and how 
they came to celebrate gymnastic contests un- 
like the rest of the Egyptians: to which they 
answered, "that Perseus belonged to their city 
by descent. Danaiis and Lynceus were Chem- 
mites before they set sail for Greece, and from 
them Perseus was descended," they said, trac- 
ing the genealogy; "and he, when he came to 
Egypt for the purpose" (which the Greeks also 
assign) "of bringing away from Libya the 
Gorgon's head, paid them a visit, and acknowl- 
edged them for his kinsmen he had heard 
the name of their city from his mother before 
he left Greece he bade them institute a gym- 
nastic contest in his honour, and that was the 
reason why they observed the practice." 

92. The customs hitherto described are those 
of the Egyptians who live above the marsh- 
country. The inhabitants of the marshes have 
the same customs as the rest, as well in those 
matters which have been mentioned above as 
in respect of marriage, each Egyptian taking 
to himself, like the Greeks, a single wife; but 
for greater cheapness of living the marsh-men 
practise certain peculiar customs, such as these 



following. They gather the blossoms of a cer- 
tain water-lily, which grows in great abund- 
ance all over the flat country at the time when 
the Nile rises and floods the regions along its 
banks the Egyptians call it the lotus they 
gather, I say, the blossoms of this plant and dry 
them in the sun, after which they extract from 
the centre of each blossom a substance like the 
head of a poppy, which they crush and make 
into bread. The root of the lotus is likewise 
eatable, and has a pleasant sweet taste: it is 
round, and about the size of an apple. There 
is also another species of the lily in Egypt, 
which grows, like the lotus, in the river, and 
resembles the rose. The fruit springs up side 
by side with the blossom, on a separate stalk, 
and has almost exactly the look of the comb 
made by wasps. It contains a number of seeds, 
about the size of an olive-stone, which are 
good to eat: and these are eaten both green 
and dried. The byblus (papyrus), which grows 
year after year in the marshes, they pull up, 
and, cutting the plant in two, reserve the up- 
per portion for other purposes, but take the 
lower, which is about a cubit long, and either 
eat it or else sell it. Such as wish to enjoy the 
byblus in full perfection bake it first in a closed 
vessel, heated to a glow. Some of these folk, 
however, live entirely on fish, which are gutted 
as soon as caught, and then hung up in the 
sun: when dry, they are used as food. 

93. Gregarious fish are not found in any 
numbers in the rivers; they frequent the la- 
gunes, whence, at the season of breeding, they 
proceed in shoals towards the sea. The males 
lead the way, and drop their milt as they go, 
while the females, following close behind, ea- 
gerly swallow it down. From this they con- 
ceive, 1 and when, after passing some time in 
the sea, they begin to be in spawn, the whole 
shoal sets off on its return to its ancient haunts. 
Now, however, it is no longer the males, but 
the females, who take the lead: they swim in 
front in a body, and do exactly as the males 
did before, dropping, little by little, their grains 
of spawn as they go, while the males in the 
rear devour the grains, each one of which is 
a fish. A portion of the spawn escapes and is 
not swallowed by the males, and hence come 
the fishes which grow afterwards to maturity. 
When any of this son of fish are taken on their 
passage to the sea, they are found to have the 
left side of the head scarred and bruised; while 
if taken on their return, the marks appear on 
the right. The reason is that as they swim 

1 Aristotle shows the absurdity of this statement 

down the Nile seaward, they keep close to the 
bank of the river upon their left, and returning 
again up stream they still cling to the same 
side, hugging h and brushing against it con- 
stantly, to be sure that they miss not their road 
through the great force of the current. When 
the Nile begins to rise, the hollows in the land 
and the marshy spots near the river are flooded 
before any other places by the percolation of 
the water through the riverbanks; and these, 
almost as soon as they become pools, are found 
to be full of numbers of little fishes. I think 
that I understand how it is this comes to pass. 
On the subsidence of the Nile the year before, 
though the fish retired with the retreating wa- 
ters, they had first deposited their spawn in 
the mud upon the banks; and so, when at the 
usual season the water returns, small fry are 
rapidly engendered out of the spawn of the 
preceding year. So much concerning the fish. 

94. The Egyptians who live in the marshes 
use for the anointing of their bodies an oil 
made from the fruit of the sillicyprium, which 
is known among them by the name of "kiki." 
To obtain this they plant the sillicyprium 
(which grows wild in Greece) along the banks 
of the rivers and by the sides of the lakes, 
where it produces fruit in great abundance, 
but with a very disagreeable smell. This fruit 
is gathered, and then bruised and pressed, or 
else boiled down after roasting: the liquid 
which comes from it is collected and is found 
to be unctuous, and as well suited as olive-oil 
for lamps, only that it gives out an unpleasant 

95. The contrivances which they use against 
gnats, wherewith the country swarms, are the 
following. In the parts of Egypt above the 
marshes the inhabitants pass the night upon 
lofty towers, which are of great service, as the 
gnats are unable to fly to any height on account 
of the winds. In the marsh-country, where 
there are no towers, each man possesses a net 
instead. By day it serves him to catch fish, 
while at night he spreads it over the bed in 
which he is to rest, and creeping in, goes to 
sleep underneath. The gnats, which, if he rolls 
himself up in his dress or in a piece of muslin, 
are sure to bite through the covering, do not 
so much as attempt to pass the net. 

96. The vessels used in Egypt for the trans- 
port of merchandise are made of the Acantha 
(Thorn), a tree which in its growth is very 
like the Cyrenaic lotus, and from which there 
exudes a gum. They cut a quantity of planks 
about two cubits in length from this tree, and 



[BOOK ii 

then proceed to their ship-building, arranging 
the planks like bricks, and attaching them by 
ties to a number of long stakes or poles till the 
hull is complete, when they lay the cross-planks 
on the top from side to side. They give the 
boats no ribs, but caulk the seams with papyrus 
on the inside. Each has a single rudder, which 
is driven straight through the keel. The mast 
is a piece of acantha-wood, and the sails are 
made of papyrus. These boats cannot make 
way against the current unless there is a brisk 
breeze; they are, therefore, towed up-stream 
from the shore: down-stream they are man- 
aged as follows. There is a raft belonging to 
each, made of the wood of the tamarisk, fas- 
tened together with a wattling of reeds; and 
also a stone bored through the middle about 
two talents in weight. The raft is fastened to 
the vessel by a rope, and allowed to float down 
the stream in front, while the stone is attached 
by another rope astern. The result is that the 
raft, hurried forward by the current, goes rap- 
idly down the river, and drags the "baris" (for 
so they call this sort of boat) after it; while 
the stone, which is pulled along in the wake 
of the vessel, and lies deep in the water, keeps 
the boat straight. There are a vast number of 
these vessels in Egypt, and some of them are 
of many thousand talents' burthen. 

97. When the Nile overflows, the country 
is converted into a sea, and nothing appears 
but the cities, which look like the islands in 
the Egean. At this season boats no longer keep 
the course of the river, but sail right across the 
plain. On the voyage from Naucratis to Mem- 
phis at this season, you pass close to the pyra- 
mids, whereas the usual course is by the apex 
of the Delta, and the city of Cercasorus. You 
can sail also from the maritime town of Cano- 
bus across the flat to Naucratis, passing by the 
cities of Anthylla and Archandropolis. 

98. The former of these cities, which is a 
place of note, is assigned expressly to the wife 
of the ruler of Egypt for the time being, to 
keep her in shoes. Such has been the custom 
ever since Egypt fell under the Persian yoke. 
The other city seems to me to have got its name 
of Archandropolis from Archander the 
Phthian, son of Achaeus, and son-in-law of 
Danaus. There might certainly have been an- 
other Archander; but, at any rate, the name is 
not Egyptian. 

99. Thus far I have spoken of Egypt from 
my own observation, relating what I myself 
saw, the ideas that I formed, and the results 
of my own researches. What follows rests on 

the accounts given me by the Egyptians, which 
I shall now repeat, adding thereto some par- 
ticulars which fell under by own notice. 

The priests said that Men was the first king 
of Egypt, and that it was he who raised the 
dyke which protects Memphis from the inun- 
dations of the Nile. Before his time the river 
flowed entirely along the sandy range of hills 
which skirts Egypt on the side of Libya. He, 
however, by banking up the river at the bend 
which it forms about a hundred furlongs south 
of Memphis, laid the ancient channel dry, 
while he dug a new course for the stream half- 
way between the two lines of hills. To this day, 
the elbow which the Nile forms at the point 
where it is forced aside into the new channel is 
guarded with the greatest care by the Persians, 
and strengthened every year; for if the river 
were to burst out at this place, and pour over 
the mound, there would be danger of Memphis 
being completely overwhelmed by the flood. 
Men, the first king, having thus, by turning the 
river, made the tract where it used to run, dry 
land, proceeded in the first place to build the 
city now called Memphis, which lies in the nar- 
row part of Egypt; after which he further ex- 
cavated a lake outside the town, to the north 
and west, communicating with the river, 
which was itself the eastern boundary. Besides 
these works, he also, the priests said, built the 
temple of Vulcan which stands within the city, 
a vast edifice, very worthy of mention. 

100. Next, they read me from a papyrus the 
names of three hundred and thirty monarchs, 
who (they said) were his successors upon the 
throne. In this number of generations there 
were eighteen Ethiopian kings, and one queen 
who was a native; all the rest were kings and 
Egyptians. The queen bore the same name as 
the Babylonian princess, namely, Nitocris. 
They said that she succeeded her brother; he 
had been king of Egypt, and was put to death 
by his subjects, who then placed her upon the 
throne. Bent on avenging his death, she de- 
vised a cunning scheme by which she destroyed 
a vast number of Egyptians. She constructed a 
spacious underground chamber, and, on pre- 
tence of inaugurating it, contrived the follow- 
ing: Inviting to a banquet those of the Egyp- 
tians whom she knew to have had the chief 
share in the murder of her brother, she sud- 
denly, as they were feasting, let the river in 
upon them, by means of a secret duct of large 
size. This, and this only, did they tell me of 
her, except that, when she had done as I have 
said, she threw herself into an apartment full 




of ashes, that she might escape the vengeance 
whereto she would otherwise have been ex- 

101. The other kings, they said, were per- 
sonages of no note or distinction, and left no 
monuments of any account, with the exception 
of the last, who was named Moeris. He left sev- 
eral memorials of his reign the northern 
gateway of the temple of Vulcan, the lake ex- 
cavated by his orders, whose dimensions I shall 
give presently, and the pyramids built by him 
in the lake, the size of which will be stated 
when I describe the lake itself wherein they 
stand. Such were his works: the other kings 
left absolutely nothing. 

1 02. Passing over these monarchs, therefore, 
I shall speak of the king who reigned next, 
whose name was Sesostris. He, the priests said, 
first of all proceeded in a fleet of ships of war 
from the Arabian gulf along the shores of the 
Erythraean sea, subduing the nations as he 
went, until he finally reached a sea which 
could not be navigated by reason of the shoals. 
Hence he returned to Egypt, where, they told 
me, he collected a vast armament, and made a 
progress by land across the continent, conquer- 
ing every people which fell in his way. In the 
countries where the natives withstood his at- 
tack, and fought gallantly for their liberties, 
he erected pillars, on which he inscribed his 
own name and country, and how that he had 
here reduced the inhabitants to subjection by 
the might of his arms: where, on the contrary, 
they submitted readily and without a struggle, 
he inscribed on the pillars, in addition to these 
particulars, an emblem to mark that they were 
a nation of women, that is, unwarlike and ef- 

103. In this way he traversed the whole con- 
tinent of Asia, whence he passed on into Eu- 
rope, and made himself master of Scythia and 
of Thrace, beyond which countries I do not 
think that his army extended its march. For 
thus far the pillars which he erected are still 
visible, but in the remoter regions they are no 
longer found. Returning to Egypt from 
Thrace, he came, on his way, to the banks of 
the river Phasis. Here I cannot say with any 
certainty what took place. Either he of his own 
accord detached a body of -troops from his 
main army and left them to colonise the coun- 
try, or else a certain number of his soldiers, 
wearied with their long wanderings, deserted, 
and established themselves on the banks of this 

104. There can be no doubt that the Col- 

chians are an Egyptian race. Before I heard any 
mention of the fact from others, I had re- 
marked it myself. After the thought had struck 
me, I made inquiries on the subject both in 
Colchis and in Egypt, and I found that the Col- 
chians had a more distinct recollection of the 
Egyptians, than the Egyptians had of them. 
Still the Egyptians said that they believed the 
Colchians to be descended from the army of 
Sesostris. My own conjectures were founded, 
first, on the fact that they are black-skinned 
and have woolly hair, which certainly amounts 
to but little, since several other nations are so 
too; but further and more especially, on the 
circumstance that the Colchians, the Egyp- 
tians, and the Ethiopians, arc the only nations 
who have practised circumcision from the ear- 
liest times. The Phoenicians and the Syrians of 
Palestine themselves confess that they learnt 
the custom of the Egyptians; and the Syrians 
who dwell about the rivers Therm6don and 
Parthenius, as well as their neighbours the 
Macronians, say that they have recently adopt- 
ed it from the Colchians. Now these are the 
only nations who use circumcision, and it is 
plain that they all imitate herein the Egyptians. 
With respect to the Ethiopians, indeed, I can- 
not decide whether they learnt the practice of 
the Egyptians, or the Egyptians of them it is 
undoubtedly of very ancient date in Ethiopia 
but that the others derived their knowledge 
of it from Egypt is clear to me from the fact 
that the Phoenicians, when they come to have 
commerce with the Greeks, cease to follow the 
Egyptians in this custom, and allow their chil- 
dren to remain uncircumcised. 

105. I will add a further proof to the iden- 
tity of the Egyptians and the Colchians. These 
two nations weave their linen in exactly the 
same way, and this is a way entirely unknown 
to the rest of the world; they also in their whole 
mode of life and in their language resemble 
one another. The Colchian linen is called by 
the Greeks Sardinian, while that which comes 
from Egypt is known as Egyptian. 

1 06. The pillars which Sesostris erected in 
the conquered countries have for the most part 
disappeared; but in the part of Syria called 
Palestine, I myself saw them still standing, 
with the writing above-mentioned, and the em- 
blem distinctly visible. In Ionia also, there are 
two representations of this prince engraved 
upon rocks, one on the road from Ephesus to 
Phocaea, the other between Sardis and Smyrna. 
In each case the figure is that of a man, four 
cubits and a span high, with a spear in his 



right hand and a bow in his left, the rest of his 
costume being likewise half Egyptian, half 
Ethiopian. There is an inscription across the 
breast from shoulder to shoulder, in the sacred 
character of Egypt, which says, "With my own 
shoulders I conquered this land." The con- 
queror does not tell who he is, or whence he 
comes, though elsewhere Sesostris records these 
facts. Hence it has been imagined by some of 
those who have seen these forms, that they are 
figures of Memnon; but such as think so err 
very widely from the truth. 

107. This Sesostris, the priests went on to 
say, upon his return home, accompanied by 
vast multitudes of the people whose countries 
he had subdued, was received by his brother, 
whom he had made viceroy of Egypt on his de- 
parture, at Daphna! near Pelusium, and invited 
by him to a banquet, which he attended, to- 
gether with his sons. Then his brother piled a 
quantity of wood all round the building, and 
having so done set it alight. Sesostris, discov- 
ering what had happened, took counsel in- 
stantly with his wife, who had accompanied 
him to the feast, and was advised by her to lay 
two of their six sons upon the fire, and so make 
a bridge across the flames, whereby the rest 
might effect their escape. Sesostris did as she 
recommended, and thus while two of his sons 
were burnt to death, he himself and his other 
children were saved. 

1 08. The king then returned to his own land 
and took vengeance upon his brother, after 
which he proceeded to make use of the multi- 
tudes whom he had brought with him from 
the conquered countries, partly to drag the 
huge masses of stone which were moved in the 
course of his reign to the temple of Vulcan 
partly to dig the numerous canals with which 
the whole of Egypt is intersected. By these 
forced labours the entire face of the country 
was changed; for whereas Egypt had formerly 
been a region suited both for horses and car- 
riages, henceforth it became entirely unfit for 
either. Though a flat country throughout its 
whole extent, it is now unfit for either horse or 
carriage, being cut up by the canals, which are 
extremely numerous and run in all directions. 
The king's object was to supply Nile water to 
the inhabitants of the towns situated in the 
mid-country, and not lying upon the river; for 
previously they had been obliged, after the sub- 
sidence of the floods, to drink a brackish water 
which they obtained from wells. 

109. Sesostris also, they declared, made a di- 
vision of the soil of Egypt among the inhabi- 

[ BOOK n 

tants, assigning square plots of ground of equal 
size to all, and obtaining his chief revenue 
from the rent which the holders were required 
to pay him year by year. If the river carried 
away any portion of a man's lot, he appeared 
before the king, and related what had hap- 
pened; upon which the king sent persons to 
examine, and determine by measurement the 
exact extent of the loss; and thenceforth only 
such a rent was demanded of him as was pro- 
portionate to the reduced size of his land. 
From this practice, I think, geometry first came 
to be known in Egypt, whence it passed into 
Greece. The sun-dial, however, and the gno- 
mon with the division of the day into twelve 
parts, were received by the Greeks from the 

no. Sesostris was king not only of Egypt, 
but also of Ethiopia. He was the only Egyp- 
tian monarch who ever ruled over the latter 
country. He left, as memorials of his reign, the 
stone statues which stand in front of the tem- 
ple of Vulcan, two of which, representing him- 
self and his wife, are thirty cubits in height, 
while the remaining four, which represent his 
sons, are twenty cubits. These are the statues, in 
front of which the priest of Vulcan, very many 
years afterwards, would not allow Darius the 
Persian to place a statue of himself; "because," 
he said, "Darius had not equalled the achieve- 
ments of Sesostris the Egyptian: for while Se- 
sostris had subdued to the full as many nations 
as ever Darius had brought under, he had like- 
wise conquered the Scythians, whom Darius 
had failed to master. It was not fair, therefore, 
that he should erect his statue in front of the 
offerings of a king, whose deeds he had been 
unable to surpass." Darius, they say, pardoned 
the freedom of this speech. 

in. On the death of Sesostris, his son Phe- 
ron, the priests said, mounted the throne. He 
undertook no warlike expeditions; being 
struck with blindness, owing to the following 
circumstance. The river had swollen to the un- 
usual height of eighteen cubits, and had over- 
flowed all the fields, when, a sudden wind aris- 
ing, the water rose in great waves. Then the 
king, in a spirit of impious violence, seized 
his spear, and hurled it into the strong eddies 
of the stream. Instantly he was smitten with 
disease of the eyes, from which after a little 
while he became blind, continuing without 
the power of vision for ten years. At last, in the 
eleventh year, an oracular announcement 
reached him from the city of Buto, to the effect, 
that "the time of his punishment had run out, 




and he should recover his sight by washing his 
eyes with urine. He must find a woman who 
had been faithful to her husband, and had nev- 
er preferred to him another man." The king, 
therefore, first of all made trial of his wife, but 
to no purpose he continued as blind as before. 
So he made the experiment with other women, 
until at length he succeeded, and in this way 
recovered his sight. Hereupon he assembled all 
the women, except the last, and bringing them 
to the city which now bears the name of Ery- 
thrabolus (Red-soil), he there burnt them all, 
together with the place itself. The woman to 
whom he owed his cure, he married, and after 
his recovery was complete, he presented offer- 
ings to all the temples of any note, among 
which the best worthy of mention are the two 
stone obelisks which he gave to the temple of 
the Sun. These are magnificent works; each is 
made of a single stone, eight cubits broad, and 
a hundred cubits in height. 

112. Pheron, they said, was succeeded by a 
man of Memphis, whose name, in the language 
of the Greeks, was Proteus. There is a sacred 
precinct of this king in Memphis, which is very 
beautiful, and richly adorned, situated south 
of the great temple of Vulcan. Phoenicians 
from the city of Tyre dwell all round this pre- 
cinct, and the whole place is known by the 
name of "the camp of the Tynans." Within the 
enclosure stands a temple, which is called that 
of Venus the Stranger. I conjecture the build- 
ing to have been erected to Helen, the daugh- 
ter of Tyndarus; first, because she, as I have 
heard say, passed some time at the court of Pro- 
teus; and secondly, because the temple is dedi- 
cated to Venus the Stranger; for among all the 
many temples of Venus there is no other where 
the goddess bears this title. 

113. The priests, in answer to my inquiries 
on the subject of Helen, informed me of the 
following particulars. When Alexander had 
carried off Helen from Sparta, he took ship and 
sailed homewards. On his way across the Egean 
a gale arose, which drove him from his course 
and took him down to the sea of Egypt; hence, 
as the wind did not abate, he was carried on to 
the coast, when he went ashore, landing at the 
Salt-Pans, in that mouth of the Nile which is 
now called the Canobic. At this place there 
stood upon the shore a temple, which still ex- 
ists, dedicated to Hercules. If a slave runs away 
from his master, and taking sanctuary at this 
shrine gives himself up to the god, and receives 
certain sacred marks upon his person, whoso- 
ever his master may be, he cannot lay hand on 

him. This law still remained unchanged to my 
time. Hearing, therefore, of the custom of the 
place, the attendants of Alexander deserted 
him, and fled to the temple, where they sat as 
suppliants. While there, wishing to damage 
their master, they accused him to the Egyp- 
tians, narrating all the circumstances of the 
rape of Helen and the wrong done to Mene- 
laus. These charges they brought, not only 
before the priests, but also before the warden 
of that mouth of the river, whose name was 

114. As soon as he received the intelligence, 
Th6nis sent a message to Proteus, who was at 
Memphis, to this effect: "A stranger is arrived 
from Greece; he is by race a Teucrian, and has 
done a wicked deed in the country from which 
he is come. Having beguiled the wife of the 
man whose guest he was, he carried her away 
with him, and much treasure also. Compelled 
by stress of weather, he has now put in here. 
Are we to let him depart as he came, or shall 
we seize what he has brought?" Proteus re- 
plied, "Seize the man, be he who he may, that 
has dealt thus wickedly with his friend, and 
bring him before me, that 1 may hear what he 
will say for himself." 

115. Thonis, on receiving these orders, ar- 
rested Alexander, and stopped the departure 
of his ships; then, taking with him Alexander, 
Helen, the treasures, and also the fugitive 
slaves, he went up to Memphis. When all were 
arrived, Proteus asked Alexander, "who he 
was, and whence he had come?" Alexander re- 
plied by giving his descent, the name of his 
country, and a true account of his late voyage. 
Then Proteus questioned him as to how he got 
possession of Helen. In his reply Alexander be- 
came confused, and diverged from the truth, 
whereon the slaves interposed, confuted his 
statements, and told the whole history of the 
crime. Finally, Proteus delivered judgment as 
follows: "Did I not regard it as a matter of the 
utmost consequence that no stranger driven to 
my country by adverse winds should ever be 
put to death, I would certainly have avenged 
the Greek by slaying thee. Thou basest of men, 
after accepting hospitality, to do so wicked a 
deed! First, thou didst seduce the wife of thy 
own host then, not content therewith, thou 
must violently excite her mind, and steal her 
away from her husband. Nay, even so thou 
wert not satisfied, but on leaving, thou must 
plunder the house in which thou hadst been a 
guest. Now then, as I think it of the greatest 
importance to put no stranger to death, I suffer 



[BOOK ii 

thce to depart; but the woman and the treas- 
ures I shall not permit to be carried away. Here 
they must stay, till the Greek stranger comes in 
person and takes them back with him. For thy- 
self and thy companions, I command thee to 
begone from my land within the space of three 
days and I warn you, that otherwise at the 
end of that time you will be treated as ene- 

1 1 6. Such was the tale told me by the priests 
concerning the arrival of Helen at the court of 
Proteus. It seems to me that Homer was ac- 
quainted with this story, and while discarding 
it, because he thought it less adapted for epic 
poetry than the version which he followed, 
showed that it was not unknown to him. This 
is evident from the travels which he assigns to 
Alexander in the Iliad and let it be borne in 
mind that he has nowhere else contradicted 
himself making him be carried out of his 
course on his return with Helen, and after di- 
vers wanderings come at last to Sidon in Phoe- 
nicia. The passage is in the Bravery of Dio- 
med, 1 and the words are as follows: 

There were the robes, many-coloured, the wor\ 
of Sidonian women: 

They from Sidon had come, what time god- 
shaped Alexander 

Over the broad sea brought, that way, the high- 
born Helen. 

In the Odyssey also the same fact is alluded 
to, in these words: 2 

Such, so wisely prepared, were the drugs that her 

stores afforded, 
Excellent; gift which once Polydamna, partner of 

Gave her in Egypt, where many the simples that 

grow in the meadows, 
Potent to cure in part, in part as potent to injure. 

Menelaus too, in the same poem, thus ad- 
dresses Telemachus: 3 
Much did I long to return t but the Gods still \ept 

me in Egypt 

Angry because 1 had failed to pay them their hec- 
atombs duly. 

In these places Homer shows himself ac- 
quainted with the voyage of Alexander to 
Egypt, for Syria borders on Egypt, and the 
Phoenicians, to whom Sidon belongs, dwell in 

117. From these various passages, and from 
that about Sidon especially, it is clear that Ho- 
mer did not write the Cypria. For there it is 

1 Iliad , Bk vi. 290-292. 

2 Odyssey, Bk iv, 227-230. 
*lbid>, Bk iv. 351-352. 

said that Alexander arrived at Ilium with Hel- 
en on the third day after he left Sparta, the 
wind having been favourable, and the sea 
smooth; whereas in the Iliad, the poet makes 
him wander before he brings her home. 
Enough, however, for the present of Homer 
and the Cypria. 

1 1 8. I made inquiry of the priests whether 
the story which the Greeks tell about Ilium is 
a fable, or no. In reply they related the follow- 
ing particulars, of which they declared that 
Menelaus had himself informed them. After 
the rape of Helen, a vast army of Greeks, wish- 
ing to render help to Menelaus, set sail for the 
Teucrian territory; on their arrival they disem- 
barked, and formed their camp, after which 
they sent ambassadors to Ilium, of whom Men- 
elaus was one. The embassy was received with- 
in the walls, and demanded the restoration of 
Helen with the treasures which Alexander had 
carried off, and likewise required satisfaction 
for the wrong done. The Teucrians gave at 
once the answer in which they persisted ever 
afterwards, backing their assertions sometimes 
even with oaths, to wit, that neither Helen, nor 
the treasures claimed, were in their possession, 
both the one and the other had remained, 
they said, in Egypt; and it was not just to come 
upon them for what Proteus, king of Egypt, 
was detaining. The Greeks, imagining that the 
Teucrians were merely laughing at them, laid 
siege to the town, and never rested until they 
finally took it. As, however, no Helen was 
found, and they were still told the same story, 
they at length believed in its truth, and des- 
patched Menelaus to the court of Proteus. 

119. So Menelaus travelled to Egypt, and on 
his arrival sailed up the river as far as Mem- 
phis, and related all that had happened. He 
met with the utmost hospitality, received Hel- 
en back unharmed, and recovered all his treas- 
ures. After this friendly treatment Menelaus, 
they said, behaved most unjustly towards the 
Egyptians; for as it happened that at the time 
when he wanted to take his departure, he was 
detained by the wind being contrary, and as 
he found this obstruction continue, he had re- 
course to a most wicked expedient. He seized, 
they said, two children of the people of the 
country, and offered them up in sacrifice. 
When this became known, the indignation of 
the people was stirred, and they went in pur- 
suit of Menelaus, who, however, escaped with 
his ships to Libya, after which the Egyptians 
could not say whither he went. The rest they 
knew full well, partly by the inquiries which 



they had made, and partly from the circum- 
stances having taken place in their own land, 
and therefore not admitting of doubt. 

1 20. Such is the account given by the Egyp- 
tian priests, and I am myself inclined to regard 
as true all that they say of Helen from the fol- 
lowing considerations: If Helen had been at 
Troy, the inhabitants would, I think, have giv- 
en her up to the Greeks, whether Alexander 
consented to it or no. For surely neither Priam, 
nor his family, could have been so infatuated 
as to endanger their own persons, their chil- 
dren, and their city, merely that Alexander 
might possess Helen. At any rate, if they de- 
termined to refuse at first, yet afterwards when 
so many of the Trojans fell on every encounter 
with the Greeks, and Priam too in each battle 
lost a son, or sometimes two, or three, or even 
more, if we may credit the epic poets, I do not 
believe that even if Priam himself had been 
married to her he would have declined to de- 
liver her up, with the view of bringing the se- 
ries of calamities to a close. Nor was it as if 
Alexander had been heir to the crown, in 
which case he might have had the chief man- 
agement of affairs, since Priam was already 
old. Hector, who was his elder brother, and a 
far braver man, stood before him, and was the 
heir to the kingdom on the death of their fa- 
ther Priam. And it could not be Hector's inter- 
est to uphold his brother in his wrong, when 
it brought such dire calamities upon himself 
and the other Trojans. But the fact was that 
they had no Helen to deliver, and so they told 
the Greeks, but the Greeks would not believe 
what they said Divine Providence, as I think, 
so willing, that by their utter destruction it 
might be made evident to all men that when 
great wrongs are done, the gods will surely 
visit them with great punishments. Such, at 
least, is my view of the matter. 

121. (i.) When Proteus died, Rhampsini- 
tus, the priests informed me, succeeded to the 
throne. His monuments were the western 
gateway of the temple of Vulcan, and the two 
statues which stand in front of this gateway, 
called by the Egyptians, the one Summer, the 
other Winter, each twenty-five cubits in height. 
The statue of Summer, which is the northern- 
most of the two, is worshipped by the natives, 
and has offerings made to it; that of Winter, 
which stands towards the south, is treated in 
exactly the contrary way. King Rhampsinitus 
was possessed, they said, of great riches in sil- 
ver indeed to such an amount, that none of 
the princes, his successors, surpassed or even 

equalled his wealth. For the better custody of 
this money, he proposed to build a vast cham- 
ber of hewn stone, one side of which was to 
form a part of the outer wall of his palace. The 
builder, therefore, having designs upon the 
treasures, contrived, as he was making the 
building, to insert in this wall a stone, which 
could easily be removed from its place by two 
men, or even by one. So the chamber was fin- 
ished, and the king's money stored away in it. 
Time passed, and the builder fell sick, when 
finding his end approaching, he called for his 
two sons, and related to them the contrivance 
he had made in the king's treasure-chamber, 
telling them it was for their sakcs he had done 
it, that so they might always live in affluence. 
Then he gave them clear directions concerning 
the mode of removing the stone, and commun- 
icated the measurements, bidding them care- 
fully keep the secret, whereby they would be 
Comptrollers of the Royal Exchequer so long 
as they lived. Then the father died, and the 
sons were not slow in setting to work: they 
went by night to the palace, found the stone in 
the wall of the building, and having removed 
it with ease, plundered the treasury of a round 

(2.) When the king next paid a visit to the 
apartment, he was astonished to see that the 
money was sunk in some of the vessels wherein 
it was stored away. Whom to accuse, however, 
he knew not, as the seals were all perfect, and 
the fastenings of the room secure. Still each 
time that he repeated his visits, he found that 
more money was gone. The thieves in truth 
never stopped, but plundered the treasury ever 
more and more. At last the king determined to 
have some traps made, and set near the vessels 
which contained his wealth. This was done, 
and when the thieves came, as usual, to the 
treasure-chamber, and one of them entering 
through the aperture, made straight for the 
jars, suddenly he found himself caught in one 
of the traps. Perceiving that he was lost, he in- 
stantly called his brother, and telling him what 
had happened, entreated him to enter as quick- 
ly as possible and cut off his head, that when 
his body should be discovered it might not be 
recognised, which would have the effect of 
bringing ruin upon both. The other thief 
thought the advice good, and was persuaded 
to follow it then, fitting the stone into its 
place, he went home, taking with him his 
brother's head. 

(3.) When day dawned, the king came into 
the room, and marvelled greatly to see the 



[ BOOK ii 

body of the thief in the trap without a head, 
while the building was still whole, and neither 
entrance nor exit was to be seen anywhere. In 
this perplexity he commanded the body of the 
dead man to be hung up outside the palace 
wall, and set a guard to watch it, with orders 
that if any persons were seen weeping or la- 
menting near the place, they should be seized 
and brought before him. When the mother 
heard of this exposure of the corpse of her son, 
she took it sorely to heart, and spoke to her sur- 
viving child, bidding him devise some plan or 
other to get back the body, and threatening, 
that if he did not exert himself, she would go 
herself to the king, and denounce him as the 

(4.) The son said all he could to persuade 
her to let the matter rest, but in vain; she still 
continued to trouble him, until at last he yield- 
ed to her importunity, and contrived as fol- 
lows: Filling some skins with wine, he load- 
ed them on donkeys, which he drove before 
him till he came to the place where the guards 
were watching the dead body, when pulling 
two or three of the skins towards him, he un- 
tied some of the necks which dangled by the 
asses' sides. The wine poured freely out, where- 
upon he began to beat his head, and shout with 
all his might, seeming not to know which of 
the donkeys he should turn to first. When the 
guards saw the wine running, delighted to 
profit by the occasion, they rushed one and all 
into the road, each with some vessel or other, 
and caught the liquor as it was spilling. The 
driver pretended anger, and loaded them with 
abuse; whereon they did their best to pacify 
him, until at last he appeared to soften, and re- 
cover his good humour, drove his asses aside out 
of the road, and set to work to rearrange their 
burthens; meanwhile, as he talked and chatted 
with the guards, one of them began to rally 
him, and make him laugh, whereupon he gave 
them one of the skins as a gift. They now made 
up their minds to sit down and have a drink- 
ing-bout where they were, so they begged him 
to remain and drink with them. Then the man 
let himself be persuaded, and stayed. As the 
drinking went on, they grew very friendly to- 
gether, so presently he gave them another 
skin, upon which they drank so copiously that 
they were all overcome with the liquor, and 
growing drowsy lay down, and fell asleep 
on the spot. The thief waited till it was the 
dead of the night, and then took down the 
body of his brother; after which, in mockery, 
he shaved off the right side of all the soldiers' 

beards, 1 and so left them. Laying his brother's 
body upon the asses, he carried it home to his 
mother, having thus accomplished the thing 
that she had required of him. 

(5.) When it came to the king's ears that 
the thief's body was stolen away, he was sorely 
vexed. Wishing, therefore, whatever it might 
cost, to catch the man who had contrived the 
trick, he had recourse (the priests said) to an 
expedient, which I can scarcely credit. He sent 
his own daughter to the common stews, with 
orders to admit all comers, but to require every 
man to tell her what was the cleverest and 
wickedest thing he had done in the whole 
course of his life. If any one in reply told her 
the story of the thief, she was to lay hold of him 
and not allow him to get away. The daughter 
did as her father willed, whereon the thief, 
who was well aware of the king's motive, felt 
a desire to outdo him in craft and cunning. Ac- 
cordingly he contrived the following plan: 
He procured the corpse of a man lately dead, 
and cutting off one of the arms at the shoulder, 
put it under his dress, and so went to the king's 
daughter. When she put the question to him as 
she had done to all the rest, he replied that the 
wickedest thing he had ever done was cutting 
off the head of his brother when he was caught 
in a trap in the king's treasury, and the clever- 
est was making the guards drunk and carrying 
off the body. As he spoke, the princess caught 
at him, but the thief took advantage of the 
darkness to hold out to her the hand of the 
corpse. Imagining it to be his own hand, she 
seized and held it fast; while the thief, leaving 
it in her grasp, made his escape by the door. 

(6.) The king, when word was brought 
him of this fresh success, amazed at the sa- 
gacity and boldness of the man, sent messen- 
gers to all the towns in his dominions to pro- 
claim a free pardon for the thief, and to prom- 
ise him a rich reward, if he came and made 
himself known. The thief took the king at his 
word, and came boldly into his presence; 
whereupon Rhampsinitus, greatly admiring 
him, and looking on him as the most knowing 
of men, gave him his daughter in marriage. 
"The Egyptians," he said, "excelled all the rest 
of the world in wisdom, and this man excelled 
all other Egyptians." 

1 This is a curious mistake for any one to make 
who had been in Egypt, since the soldiers had no 
beards, and it was the custom of all classes to 
shave. Herodotus could not have learnt this story 
from the Egyptians, and it is evidently from a 
Greek source. 

I2I-I2 5 ] 



122. The same king, I was also informed by 
the priests, afterwards descended alive into the 
region which the Greeks call Hades, and there 
played at dice with Ceres, sometimes winning 
and sometimes suffering defeat. After a while 
he returned to earth, and brought with him a 
golden napkin, a gift which he had received 
from the goddess. From this descent of Rham- 
psinitus into Hades, and return to earth again, 
the Egyptians, I was told, instituted a festival, 
which they certainly celebrated in my day. On 
what occasion it was that they instituted it, 
whether upon this or upon any other, I cannot 
determine. The following are the ceremonies: 
On a certain day in the year the priests 
weave a mantle, and binding the eyes of one of 
their number with a fillet, they put the mantle 
upon him, and take him with them into the 
roadway conducting to the temple of Ceres, 
when they depart and leave him to himself. 
Then the priest, thus blindfolded, is led (they 
say) by two wolves to the temple of Ceres, dis- 
tant twenty furlongs from the city, where he 
stays awhile, after which he is brought back 
from the temple by the wolves, and left upon 
the spot where they first joined him. 

123. Such as think the tales told by the Egyp- 
tians credible are free to accept them for his- 
tory. For my own part, I propose to myself 
throughout my whole work faithfully to record 
the traditions of the several nations. The Egyp- 
tians maintain that Ceres and Bacchus preside 
in the realms below. They were also the first 
to broach the opinion that the soul of man is 
immortal, and that, when the body dies, it en- 
ters into the form of an animal which is born 
at the moment, thence passing on from one an- 
imal into another, until it has circled through 
the forms of all the creatures which tenant the 
earth, the water, and the air, after which it en- 
ters again into a human frame, and is born 
anew. The whole period of the transmigration 
is (they say) three thousand years. There are 
Greek writers, some of an earlier, some of a 
later date, who have borrowed this doctrine 
from the Egyptians, and put it forward as their 
own. I could mention their names, but I ab- 
stain from doing so. 

124. Till the death of Rhampsinitus, the 
priests said, Egypt was excellently governed, 
and flourished greatly; but after him Cheops 
succeeded to the throne, and plunged into all 
manner of wickedness. He closed the temples, 
and forbade the Egyptians to offer sacrifice, 
compelling them instead to labour, one and all, 
in his service. Some were required to drag 

blocks of stone down to the Nile from the 
quarries in the Arabian range of hills; others 
received the blocks after they had been con- 
veyed in boats across the river, and drew them 
to the range of hills called the Libyan. A hun- 
dred thousand men laboured constantly, and 
were relieved every three months by a fresh 
lot. It took ten years' oppression of the people 
to make the causeway for the conveyance of the 
stones, a work not much inferior, in my judg- 
ment, to the pyramid itself. This causeway is 
five furlongs in length, ten fathoms wide, and 
in height, at the highest part, eight fathoms. It 
is built of polished stone, and is covered with 
carvings of animals. To make it took ten years, 
as I said or rather to make the causeway, the 
works on the mound where the pyramid 
stands, and the underground chambers, which 
Cheops intended as vaults for his own use: 
these last were built on a sort of island, sur- 
rounded by water introduced from the Nile by 
a canal. The pyramid itself was twenty years 
in building. It is a square, eight hundred feet 
each way, and the height the same, built en- 
tirely of polished stone, fitted together with the 
utmost care. The stones of which it is com- 
posed are none of them less than thirty feet in 

125. The pyramid was built in steps, battle- 
ment-wise, as it is called, or, according to oth- 
ers, altar-wise. After laying the stones for the 
base, they raised the remaining stones to their 
places by means of machines formed of short 
wooden planks. The first machine raised them 
from the ground to the top of the first step. On 
this there was another machine, which received 
the stone upon its arrival, and conveyed it to 
the second step, whence a third machine ad- 
vanced it still higher. Either they had as many 
machines as there were steps in the pyramid, 
or possibly they had but a single machine, 
which, being easily moved, was transferred 
from tier to tier as the stone rose both ac- 
counts are given, and therefore I mention both. 
The upper portion of the pyramid was finished 
first, then the middle, and finally the part 
which was lowest and nearest the ground. 
There is an inscription in Egyptian characters 
on the pyramid which records the quantity of 
radishes, onions, and garlic consumed by the 
labourers who constructed it; and I perfectly 
well remember that the interpreter who read 
the writing to me i said that the money ex- 
pended in this wdy was 1600 talents of silver. 
If this then is a true record, what a vast sum 
must have been spent on the iron tools used in 



[BOOK ii 

the work, and on the feeding and clothing of 
the labourers, considering the length of time 
the work lasted, which has already been stated, 
and the additional time no small space, I im- 
agine which must have been occupied by the 
quarrying of the stones, their conveyance, and 
the formation of the underground apartments. 

126. The wickedness of Cheops reached to 
such a pitch that, when he had spent all his 
treasures and wanted more, he sent his daugh- 
ter to the stews, with orders to procure him a 
certain sum how much I cannot say, for I was 
not told; she procured it, however, and at the 
same time, bent on leaving a monument which 
should perpetuate her own memory, she re- 
quired each man to make her a present of a 
stone towards the works which she contem- 
plated. With these stones she built the pyramid 
which stands midmost of the three that are in 
front of the great pyramid, measuring along 
each side a hundred and fifty feet. 

127. Cheops reigned, the Egyptians said, fif- 
ty years, and was succeeded at his demise by 
Chephren, his brother. 

Chephren imitated the conduct of his prede- 
cessor, and, like him, built a pyramid, which 
did not, however, equal the dimensions of his 
brother's. Of this I am certain, for I measured 
them both myself. It has no subterraneous 
apartments, nor any canal from the Nile to sup- 
ply it with water, as the other pyramid has. In 
that, the Nile water, introduced through an 
artificial duct, surrounds an island, where the 
body of Cheops is said to he. Chephren built 
his pyramid close to the great pyramid of Che- 
ops, and of the same dimensions, except that he 
lowered the height forty feet. For the basement 
he employed the many-coloured stone of Ethi- 
opia. These two pyramids stand both on the 
same hill, an elevation not far short of a hun- 
dred feet in height. The reign of Chephren 
lasted fifty-six years. 

128. Thus the affliction of Egypt endured 
for the space of one hundred and six years, dur- 
ing the whole of which time the temples were 
shut up and never opened. The Egyptians so 
detest the memory of these kings that they do 
not much like even to mention their names. 
Hence they commonly call the pyramids after 
Philition, a shepherd who at that time fed his 
flocks about the place. 

129. After Chephren, Myortinus (they said), 
son of Cheops, ascended 3 the throne. This 
prince disapproved the conduct of his father, 
re-opened the temples, and allowed the people, 
who were ground down to the lowest point o 

misery, to return to their occupations, and to 
resume the practice of sacrifice. His justice in 
the decision of causes was beyond that of all 
the former kings. The Egyptians praise him 
in this respect more highly than any of their 
other monarchs, declaring that he not only 
gave his judgments with fairness, but also, 
when any one was dissatisfied with his sen- 
tence, made compensation to him out of his 
own purse, and thus pacified his anger. Mycer- 
inus had established his character for mildness, 
and was acting as I have described, when the 
stroke of calamity fell on him. First of all his 
daughter died, the only child that he pos- 
sessed. Experiencing a bitter grief at this visi- 
tation, in his sorrow he conceived the wish to 
entomb his child in some unusual way. He 
therefore caused a cow to be made of wood, 
and after the interior had been hollowed out, 
he had the whole surface coated with gold; 
and in this novel tomb laid the dead body of 
his daughter. 

130. The cow was not placed under ground, 
but continued visible to my times: it was at 
Sai's, in the royal palace, where it occupied a 
chamber richly adorned. Every day there are 
burnt before it aromatics of every kind; and 
all night long a lamp is kept burning in the 
apartment. In an adjoining chamber are stat- 
ues which the priests at Sais declared to repre- 
sent the various concubines of Mycerinus. 
They are colossal figures in wood, of the num- 
ber of about twenty, and are represented na- 
ked. Whose images they really are, I cannot say 
I can only repeat the account which was 
given to me. 

131. Concerning these colossal figures and 
the sacred cow, there is also another tale nar- 
rated, which runs thus: "Mycerinus was en- 
amoured of his daughter, and offered her vio- 
lence the damsel for grief hanged herself, and 
Mycerinus entombed her in the cow. Then her 
mother cut off the hands of all her tiring-maids, 
because they had sided with the father, and 
betrayed the child; and so the statues of the 
maids have no hands." All this is mere fable in 
my judgment, especially what is said about the 
hands of the colossal statues. I could plainly 
see that the figures had only lost their hands 
through the effect of time. They had dropped 
off, and were still lying on the ground about 
the feet of the statues. 

132. As for the cow, the greater portion of it 
is hidden by a scarlet coverture; the head and 
neck, however, which are visible, are coated 
very thickly with gold, and between the horns 




there is a representation in gold of the orb of 
the sun. The figure is not erect, but lying 
down, with the limbs under the body; the di- 
mensions being fully those of a large animal of 
the kind. Every year it is taken from the apart- 
ment where it is kept, and exposed to the light 
of day this is done at the season when the 
Egyptians beat themselves in honour of one of 
their gods, whose name I am unwilling to 
mention in connection with such a matter. 1 
They say that the daughter of Mycerinus re- 
quested her father in her dying moments to al- 
low her once a year to see the sun. 

133. After the death of his daughter, My- 
cerinus was visited with a second calamity, of 
which I shall now proceed to give an account. 
An oracle reached him from the town of Buto, 
which said, "Six years only shalt thou live upon 
the earth, and in the seventh thou shalt end thy 
days." Mycerinus, indignant, sent an angry 
message to the oracle, reproaching the god 
with his injustice u My father and uncle," he 
said, "though they shut up the temples, took 
no thought of the gods, and destroyed multi- 
tudes of men, nevertheless enjoyed a long life; 
I, who am pious, am to die so soon!" There 
came in reply a second message from the ora- 
cle "For this very reason is thy life brought 
so quickly to a close thou hast not done as it 
behoved thee. Egypt was fated to suffer afflic- 
tion one hundred and fifty years the two 
kings who preceded thee upon the throne un- 
derstood this thou hast not understood it." 
Mycerinus, when this answer reached him, per- 
ceiving that his doom was fixed, had lamps pre- 
pared, which he lighted every day at eventime, 
and feasted and enjoyed himself unceasingly 
both day and night, moving about in the 
marsh-country and the woods, and visiting all 
the places that he heard were agreeable so- 
journs. His wish was to prove the oracle false, 
by turning the nights into days, and so living 
twelve years in the space of six. 

134. He too left a pyramid, but much in- 
ferior in size to his father's. It is a square, each 
side of which falls short of three plethra by 
twenty feet, and is built for half its height of 
the stone of Ethiopia. Some of the Greeks call 
it the work of Rhodopis the courtesan, but they 
report falsely. It seems to me that these persons 
cannot have any real knowledge who Rhodopis 
was; otherwise they would scarcely have as- 
cribed to her a work on which uncounted treas- 
ures, so to speak, must have been expended. 
Rhodopis also lived during the reign of Ama- 

1 Osiris. 

sis, not of Mycerinus, and was thus very many 
years later than the time of the kings who built 
the pyramids. She was a Thracian by birth, and 
was the slave of ladmon, son of Hephaestopolis, 
a Samian. ^Esop, the fable-writer, was one of 
her fellow-slaves. That /Esop belonged to lad- 
mon is proved by many facts among others, 
by this. When the Delphians, in obedience to 
the command of the oracle, made proclamation 
that if any one claimed compensation for the 
murder of ^Esop he should receive it, the per- 
son who at last came forward was ladmon, 
grandson of the former ladmon, and he re- 
ceived the compensation. JEsop therefore must 
certainly have been the former ladmon's slave. 

135. Rhodopis really arrived in Egypt under 
the conduct of Xantheus the Samian; she was 
brought there to exercise her trade, but was re- 
deemed for a vast sum by Charaxus, a Mytile- 
naean, the son of Scamandronymus, and broth- 
er of Sappho the poetess. After thus obtaining 
her freedom, she remained in Egypt, and, as 
she was very beautiful, amassed great wealth, 
for a person in her condition; not, however, 
enough to enable her to erect such a work as 
this pyramid. Any one who likes may go and 
see to what the tenth part of her wealth 
amounted, and he will thereby learn that her 
riches must not be imagined to have been very 
wonderfully great. Wishing to leave a memori- 
al of herself in Greece, she determined to have 
something made the like of which was not to 
be found in any temple, and to offer it at the 
shrine at Delphi. So she set apart a tenth of 
her possessions, and purchased with the money 
a quantity of iron spits, such as are fit for roast- 
ing oxen whole, whereof she made a present to 
the oracle. They are still to be seen there, lying 
of a heap, behind the altar which the Chians 
dedicated, opposite the sanctuary. Naucratis 
seems somehow to be the place where such 
women are most attractive. First there was this 
Rhodopis of whom we have been speaking, so 
celebrated a person that her name came to be 
familiar to all the Greeks; and, afterwards, 
there was another, called Archidice', notorious 
throughout Greece, though not so much 
talked of as her predecessor. Charaxus, after 
ransoming Rhodopis, returned to Mytilene, 
and was often lashed by Sappho in her poetry. 
But enough has been said on the subject of this 

136. After Mycerinus, the priests said, Asy- 
chis ascended the throne. He built the eastern 
gateway of the temple of Vulcan, which in 
size and beauty far surpasses the other three. 



[BOOK n 

All the four gateways have figures graven on 
them, and a vast amount of architectural orna- 
ment, but the gateway of Asychis is by far the 
most richly adorned. In the reign of this king, 
money being scarce and commercial dealings 
straitened, a law was passed that the borrow- 
er might pledge his father's body to raise the 
sum whereof he had need. A proviso was ap- 
pended to this law, giving the lender authority 
over the entire sepulchre of the borrower, so 
that a man who took up money under this 
pledge, if he died without paying the debt, 
could not obtain burial either in his own an- 
cestral tomb, or in any other, nor could he dur- 
ing his lifetime bury in his own tomb any 
member of his family. The same king, desirous 
of eclipsing all his predecessors upon the 
throne, left as a monument of his reign a pyra- 
mid of brick. It bears an inscription, cut in 
stone, which runs thus: "Despise me not in 
comparison with the stone pyramids; for I sur- 
pass them all, as much as Jove surpasses the 
other gods. A pole was plunged into a lake, 
and the mud which clave thereto was gath- 
ered; and bricks were made of the mud, and 
so I was formed." Such were the chief actions 
of this prince. 

137. He was succeeded on the throne, they 
said, by a blind man, a native of Anysis, whose 
own name also was Anysis. Under him Egypt 
was invaded by a vast army of Ethiopians, led 
by Sabacos, their king. The blind Anysis fled 
away to the marsh-country, and the Ethiopian 
was lord of the land for fifty years, during 
which his mode of rule was the following: 
When an Egyptian was guilty of an oHence, his 
plan was not to punish him with death: in- 
stead of so doing, he sentenced him, according 
to the nature of his crime, to raise the ground 
to a greater or a less extent in the neighbour- 
hood of the city to which he belonged. Thus 
the cities came to be even more elevated than 
they were before. As early as the time of Sesos- 
tris, they had been raised by those who dug the 
canals in his reign; this second elevation of 
the soil under the Ethiopian king gave them a 
very lofty position. Among the many cities 
which thus attained to a great elevation, none 
(I think) was raised so much as the town 
called Bubastis, where there is a temple of the 
goddess Bubastis, which well deserves to be de- 
scribed. Other temples may be grander, and 
may have cost more in the building, but there 
is none so pleasant to the eye as this of Bubastis. 
The Bubastis of the Egyptians is the same as 
the Artemis (Diana) of the Greeks. 

138. The following is a description of this 
edifice: Excepting the entrance, the whole 
forms an island. Two artificial channels from 
the Nile, one on either side of the temple, en- 
compass the building, leaving only a narrow 
passage by which it is approached. These chan- 
nels are each a hundred feet wide, and are 
thickly shaded with trees. The gateway is sixty 
feet in height, and is ornamented with figures 
cut upon the stone, six cubits high and well 
worthy of notice. The temple stands in the 
middle of the city, and is visible on all sides as 
one walks round it; for as the city has been 
raised up by embankment, while the temple 
has been left untouched in its original condi- 
tion, you look down upon it wheresoever you 
are. A low wall runs round the enclosure, hav- 
ing figures engraved upon it, and inside there 
is a grove of beautiful tall trees growing round 
the shrine, which contains the image of the 
goddess. The enclosure is a furlong in length, 
and the same in breadth. The entrance to it is 
by a road paved with stone for a distance of 
about three furlongs, which passes straight 
through the market-place with an easterly di- 
rection, and is about four hundred feet in 
width. Trees of an extraordinary height grow 
on each side the road, which conducts from the 
temple of Bubastis to that of Mercury. 

139. The Ethiopian finally quitted Egypt, 
the priests said, by a hasty flight under the fol- 
lowing circumstances. He saw in his sleep a 
vision: a man stood by his side, and coun- 
selled him to gather together all the priests of 
Egypt and cut every one of them asunder. On 
this, according to the account which he himself 
gave, it came into his mind that the gods in- 
tended hereby to lead him to commit an act of 
sacrilege, which would be sure to draw down 
upon him some punishment either at the hands 
of gods or men. So he resolved not to do the 
deed suggested to him, but rather to retire from 
Egypt, as the time during which it was fated 
that he should hold the country had now (he 
thought) expired. For before he left Ethiopia 
he had been told by the oracles which are ven- 
erated there, that he was to reign fifty years 
over Egypt. The years were now fled, and the 
dream had come to trouble him; he therefore 
of his own accord withdrew from the land. 

140. As soon as Sabacos was gone, the blind 
king left the marshes, and resumed the gov- 
ernment. He had lived in the marsh-region the 
whole time, having formed for himself an is- 
land there by a mixture of earth and ashes. 
While he remained, the natives had orders to 



bring him food unbeknown to the Ethiopian, 
and latterly, at his request, each man had 
brought him, with the food, a certain quantity 
of ashes. Before Amyrtacus, no one was able to 
discover the site of this island, which con- 
tinued unknown to the kings of Egypt who 
preceded him on the throne for the space of 
seven hundred years and more. The name 
which it bears is Elbo. It is about ten furlongs 
across in each direction. 

141. The next king, I was told, was a priest 
of Vulcan, called Sethos. This monarch de- 
spised and neglected the warrior class of the 
Egyptians, as though he did not need their 
services. Among other indignities which he 
offered them, he took from them the lands 
which they had possessed under all the prev- 
ious kings, consisting of twelve acres of choice 
land for each warrior. Afterwards, therefore, 
when Sanacharib, king of the Arabians 1 and 
Assyrians, marched his vast army into Egypt, 
the warriors one and all refused to come to his 
aid. On this the monarch, greatly distressed, 
entered into the inner sanctuary, and, before 
the image of the god, bewailed the fate which 
impended over him. As he wept he fell asleep, 
and dreamed that the god came and stood at 
his side, bidding him be of good cheer, and go 
boldly forth to meet the Arabian host, which 
would do him no hurt, as he himself would 
send those who should help him. Sethos, then, 
relying on the dream, collected such of the 
Egyptians as were willing to follow him, who 
were none of them warriors, but traders, ar- 
tisans, and market people; and with these 
marched to Pelusium, which commands the 
entrance into Egypt, and there pitched his 
camp. As the two armies lay here opposite one 
another, there came in the night, a multitude 
of field-mice, which devoured all the quivers 
and bowstrings of the enemy, and ate the 
thongs by which they managed their shields. 
Next morning they commenced their fight, 
and great multitudes fell, as they had no arms 

1 It is curious to find Sennacherib called the 
"king of the Arabians and Assyrians an order 
of words which seems even to regard him as 
rather an Arabian than an Assyrian king. In the 
same spirit his army is termed afterwards "the 
Arabian host." It is impossible altogether to de- 
fend the view which Herodotus here discloses, 
but we may understand how such a mistake was 
possible, if we remember how Arabians were 
mixed up with other races in Lower Mesopotamia 
and what an extensive influence a great Assyrian 
king would exercise over the tribes of the desert, 
especially those bordering on Mesopotamia. 

with which to defend themselves. There stands 
to this day in the temple of Vulcan, a stone 
statue of Seth6s, with a mouse in his hand, and 
an inscription to this effect "Look on me, and 
learn to reverence the gods.*' 

142. Thus far I have spoken on the authority 
of the Egyptians and their priests. They de- 
clare that from their first king to this last- 
mentioned monarch, the priest of Vulcan, was 
a period of three hundred and forty-one genera- 
tions; such, at least, they say, was the number 
both of their kings, and of their high-priests, 
during this interval. Now three hundred gen- 
erations of men make ten thousand years, three 
generations filling up the century; and the re- 
maining forty-one generations make thirteen 
hundred and forty years. Thus the whole num- 
ber of years is eleven thousand, three hundred 
and forty; ini which entire space, they said, no 
god had ever appeared in a human form; noth- 
ing of this kind had happened either under the 
former or under the later Egyptian kings. The 
sun, however, had within this period of time, 
on four several occasions, moved from his 
wonted course, twice rising where he now sets, 
and twice setting where he now rises. Egypt 
was in no degree affected by these changes; the 
productions of the land, and of the river, re- 
mained the same; nor was there anything un- 
usual cither in the diseases or the deaths. 

143. When Hecatacus the historian was at 
Thebes, and, discoursing of his genealogy, 
traced his descent to a god in the person of his 
sixteenth ancestor, the priests of Jupiter did to 
him exactly as they afterwards did to me, 
though I made no boast of my family. They led 
me into the inner sanctuary, which is a spacious 
chamber, and showed me a multitude of co- 
lossal statues^ in wood, which they counted up, 
and found to amount to the exact number they 
had said; the custom being for every high- 
priest during his lifetime to set up his statue in 
the temple. As they showed me the figures and 
reckoned them up, they assured me that each 
was the son of the one preceding him; and this 
they repeated throughout the whole line, be- 
ginning with the representation of the priest 
last deceased, and continuing till they had com- 
pleted the series. When Hecataeus, in giving his 
genealogy, mentioned a god as his sixteenth 
ancestor, the priests opposed their genealogy 
to his, going through this list, and refusing to 
allow that any man was ever born of a god. 
Their colossal figures were each, they said, a 
Piromis, born of a Pir6mis, and the number of 
them was three hundred and forty-five; through 



[BOOK n 

the whole series Pir6mis followed Pir6mis, and 
the line did not run up either to a god or a 
hero. The word Pirdmis may be rendered "gen- 

144. Of such a nature were, they said, the 
beings represented by these images they were 
very far indeed from being gods. However, in 
the times anterior to them it was otherwise; 
then Egypt had gods for its rulers, who dwelt 
upon the earth with men, one being always 
supreme above the rest. The last of these was 
Horus, the son of Osiris, called by the Greeks 
Apollo. He deposed Typhon, and ruled over 
Egypt as its last god-king. Osiris is named Di- 
onysus (Bacchus) by the Greeks. 

145. The Greeks regard Hercules, Bacchus, 
and Pan as the youngest of the gods. With the 
Egyptians, contrariwise, Pan is exceedingly 
ancient, and belongs to those whom they call 
"the eight gods," who existed before the rest. 
Hercules is one of the gods of the second order, 
who are known as "the twelve"; and Bacchus 
belongs to the gods of the third order, whom 
the twelve produced. I have already mentioned 
how many years intervened according to the 
Egyptians between the birth of Hercules and 
the reign of Amasis. From Pan to this period 
they count a still longer time; and even from 
Bacchus, who is the youngest of the three, they 
reckon fifteen thousand years to the reign of 
that king. In these matters they say they can- 
not be mistaken, as they have always kept 
count of the years, and noted them in their reg- 
isters. But from the present day to the time of 
Bacchus, the reputed son of Semele, daughter 
of Cadmus, is a period of not more than six- 
teen hundred years; to that of Hercules, son of 
Alcmena, is about nine hundred; while to the 
time of Pan, son of Penelope* (Pan, according 
to the Greeks, was her child by Mercury), is 
a shorter space than to the Trojan war, eight 
hundred years or thereabouts, 

146. It is open to all to receive whichever he 
may prefer of these two traditions; my own 
opinion about them has been already declared. 
If indeed these gods had been publicly known, 
and had grown old in Greece, as was the case 
with Hercules, son of Amphitryon, Bacchus, 
son of Semete, and Pan, son of Penelop, it 
might have been said that the last-mentioned 
personages were men who bore the names of 
certain previously existing deities. But Bac- 
chus, according to the Greek tradition, was no 
sooner born than he was sewn up in Jupiter's 
thigh, and carried off to Nysa, above Egypt, in 
Ethiopia; and as to Pan, they do not even pro- 

fess to know what happened to him after his 
birth. To me, therefore, it is quite manifest 
that the names of these gods became known to 
the Greeks after those of their other deities, 
and that they count their birth from the time 
when they first acquired a knowledge of them. 
Thus far my narrative rests on the accounts 
given by the Egyptians. 

147. In what follows I have the authority, 
not of the Egyptians only, but of others also 
who agree with them. I shall speak likewise in 
part from my own observation. When the 
Egyptians regained their liberty after the reign 
of the priest of Vulcan, unable to continue any 
while without a king, they divided Egypt into 
twelve districts, and set twelve kings over 
them. These twelve kings, united together by 
intermarriages, ruled Egypt in peace, having 
entered into engagements with one another 
not to depose any of their number, nor to aim 
at any aggrandisement of one above the rest, 
but to dwell together in perfect amity. Now the 
reason why they made these stipulations, and 
guarded with care against their infraction, was 
because at the very first establishment of the 
twelve kingdoms an oracle had declared 
"That he among them who should pour in 
Vulcan's temple a libation from a cup of 
bronze would become monarch of the whole 
land of Egypt." Now the twelve held their 
meetings at all the temples. 

148. To bind themselves yet more closely to- 
gether, it seemed good to them to leave a com- 
mon monument. In pursuance of this resolu- 
tion they made the Labyrinth which lies a little 
above Lake Moeris, in the neighbourhood of 
the place called the city of Crocodiles. I visited 
this place, and found it to surpass description; 
for if all the walls and other great works of the 
Greeks could be put together in one, they 
would not equal, either for labour or expense, 
this Labyrinth; and yet the temple of Ephesus 
is a building worthy of note, and so is the tem- 
ple of Samos. The pyramids likewise surpass 
description, and are severally equal to a num- 
ber of the greatest works of the Greeks, but the 
Labyrinth surpasses the pyramids. It has twelve 
courts, all of them roofed, with gates exactly 
opposite one another, six looking to the north, 
and six to the south. A single wall surrounds 
the entire building. There are two different 
sorts of chambers throughout half under 
ground, half above ground, the latter built 
upon the former; the whole number of these 
chambers is three thousand, fifteen hundred of 
each kind. The upper chambers I myself passed 




through and saw, and what I say concerning 
them is from my own observation; of the un- 
derground chambers I can only speak from re- 
port: for the keepers of the building could not 
be got to show them, since they contained (as 
they said) the sepulchres of the kings who built 
the Labyrinth, and also those of the sacred 
crocodiles. Thus it is from hearsay only that I 
can speak of the lower chambers. The upper 
chambers, however, I saw with my own eyes, 
and found them to excel all other human pro- 
ductions; for the passages through the houses, 
and the varied windings of the paths across the 
courts excited in me infinite admiration as I 
passed from the courts into chambers, and from 
the chambers into colonnades, and from the 
colonnades into fresh houses, and again from 
these into courts unseen before. The roof was 
throughout of stone, like the walls; and the 
walls were carved all over with figures; every 
court was surrounded with a colonnade which 
was built of white stones exquisitely fitted to- 
gether. At the corner of the Labyrinth stands 
a pyramid, forty fathoms high, with large fig- 
ures engraved on it, which is entered by a 
subterranean passage. 

149. Wonderful as is the Labyrinth, the 
work called the Lake of Mceris, which is close 
by the Labyrinth, is yet more astonishing. The 
measure of its circumference is sixty schoenes, 
or three thousand six hundred furlongs, which 
is equal to the entire length of Egypt along the 
sea-coast. The lake stretches in its longest direc- 
tion from north to south, and in its deepest 
parts is of the depth of fifty fathoms. It is man- 
ifestly an artificial excavation, for nearly in the 
centre there stand two pyramids, rising to the 
height of fifty fathoms above the surface of the 
water, and extending as far beneath, crowned 
each of them with a colossal statue sitting upon 
a throne. Thus these pyramids are one hun- 
dred fathoms high, which is exactly a furlong 
(stadium) of six hundred feet: the fathom be- 
ing six feet in length, or four cubits, which is 
the same thing, since a cubit measures six, and 
a foot four, palms. The water of the lake does 
not come out of the ground, which is here ex- 
cessively dry, but is introduced by a canal from 
the Nile. The current sets for six months into 
the lake from the river, and for the next six 
months into the river from the lake. While it 
runs outward it returns a talent of silver daily 
to the royal treasury from the fish that are 
taken, but when the current is the other way 
the return sinks to one-third of that sum. 

150. The natives told me that there was a 

subterranean passage from this lake to the Lib- 
yan Syrtis, running westward into the interior 
by the hills above Memphis. As I could not 
anywhere see the earth which had been taken 
out when the excavation was made, and I was 
curious to know what had become of it, I asked 
the Egyptians who live closest to the lake 
where the earth had been put. The answer that 
they gave me I readily accepted as true, since I 
had heard of the same thing being done at 
Nineveh of the Assyrians. There, once upon a 
time, certain thieves, having formed a plan to 
get into their possession the vast treasures of 
Sardanapalus, the Ninevite king, which were 
laid up in subterranean treasuries, proceeded 
to tunnel a passage from the house where they 
lived into the royal palace, calculating the dis- 
tance and the direction. At nightfall they took 
the earth from the excavation and carried it to 
the river Tigris, which ran by Nineveh, con- 
tinuing to get rid of it in this manner until they 
had accomplished their purpose. It was exactly 
in the same way that the Egyptians disposed of 
the mould from their excavation, except that 
they did it by day and not by night; for as fast 
as the earth was dug, they carried it to the 
Nile, which they knew would disperse it far 
and wide. Such was the account which I re- 
ceived of the formation of this lake. 

151. The twelve kings for some time dealt 
honourably by one another, but at length it 
happened that on a certain occasion, when they 
had met to worship in the temple of Vulcan, 
the high-priest on the last day of the festival, 
in bringing forth the golden goblets from 
which they were wont to pour the libations, 
mistook the number and brought eleven gob- 
lets only for the twelve princes. Psammetichus 
was standing last, and, being left without a 
cup, he took his helmet, which was of bronze, 
from of? his head, stretched it out to receive the 
liquor, and so made his libation. All the kings 
were accustomed to wear helmets, and all in- 
deed wore them at this very time. Nor was 
there any crafty design in the action of Psam- 
metichus. The eleven, however, when they 
came to consider what had been done, and be- 
thought them of the oracle which had declared 
"that he who, of the twelve, should pour a 
libation from a cup of bronze, the same would 
be king of the whole land of Egypt," doubted 
at first if they should not put Psammetichus to 
death. Finding, however, upon examination, 
that he had acted in the matter without any 
guilty intent, they did not think it would be 
just to kill him; but determined, instead, to 




strip him of the chief part of his power and to 
banish him to the marshes, forbidding him to 
leave them or to hold any communication with 
the rest of Egypt. 

152. This was the second time that Psam- 
metichus had been driven into banishment. On 
a former occasion he had fled from Sabacos 
the Ethiopian, who had put his father Necos 
to death; and had taken refuge in Syria from 
whence, after the retirement of the Ethiop in 
consequence of his dream, he was brought 
back by the Egyptians of the Sai'tic canton. 
Now it was his ill-fortune to be banished a sec- 
ond time by the eleven kings, on account of the 
libation which he had poured from his helmet; 
on this occasion he fled to the marshes. Feeling 
that he was an injured man, and designing to 
avenge himself upon his persecutors, Psam- 
metichus sent to the city of Buto, where there 
is an oracle of Latona, the most veracious of all 
the oracles of the Egyptians, and having in- 
quired concerning means of vengeance, re- 
ceived for answer that "Vengeance would 
come from the sea, when brazen men should 
appear." Great was his incredulity when this 
answer arrived, for never, he thought, would 
brazen men arrive to be his helpers. However, 
not long afterwards certain Carians and loni- 
ans, who had left their country on a voyage of 
plunder, were carried by stress of weather to 
Egypt where they disembarked, all equipped 
in their brazen armour, and were seen by the 
natives, one of whom carried the tidings to 
Psammetichus, and, as he had never before 
seen men clad in brass, he reported that brazen 
men had come from the sea and were plunder- 
ing the plain. Psammetichus, perceiving at 
once that the oracle was accomplished, made 
friendly advances to the strangers, and engaged 
them, by splendid promises, to enter into his 
service. He then, with their aid and that of the 
Egyptians who espoused his cause, attacked the 
eleven and vanquished them. 

153. When Psammetichus had thus become 
sole monarch of Egypt, he built the southern 
gateway of the temple of Vulcan in Memphis, 
and also a court for Apis, in which Apis is kept 
whenever he makes his appearance in Egypt. 
This court is opposite the gateway of Psam- 
metichus, and is surrounded with a colonnade 
and adorned with a multitude of figures. In- 
stead of pillars, the colonnade rests upon co- 
lossal statues, twelve cubits in height. The 
Greek name for Apis is Epaphus. 

154. To the lonians and Carians who had 
lent him their assistance Psammetichus as- 

signed as abodes two places opposite to each 
other, one on either side of the Nile, which re- 
ceived the name of "the Camps." He also made 
good all the splendid promises by which he had 
gained their support; and further, he intrusted 
to their care certain Egyptian children whom 
they were to teach the language of the Greeks. 
These children, thus instructed, became the 
parents of the entire class of interpreters in 
Egypt. The lonians and Carians occupied for 
many years the places assigned them by Psam- 
metichus, which lay near the sea, a little below 
the city of Bubastis, on the Pelusiac mouth of 
the Nile. King Amasis long afterwards re- 
moved the Greeks hence, and settled them at 
Memphis to guard him against the native 
Egyptians. From the date of the original set- 
tlement of these persons in Egypt, we Greeks, 
through our intercourse with them, have ac- 
quired an accurate knowledge of the several 
events in Egyptian history, from the reign of 
Psammetichus downwards; but before his time 
no foreigners had ever taken up their residence 
in that land. The docks where their vessels 
were laid up and the ruins of their habita- 
tions were still to be seen in my day at the 
place where they dwelt originally, before they 
were removed by Amasis. Such was the mode 
by which Psammetichus became master of 

155. 1 have already made mention more than 
once of the Egyptian oracle, and, as it well de- 
serves notice, I shall now proceed to give an 
account of it more at length. It is a temple of 
Latona, situated in the midst of a great city on 
the Sebennytic mouth of the Nile, at some dis- 
tance up the river from the sea. The name of 
the city, as I have before observed, is Buto; and 
in it are two other temples also, one of Apollo 
and one of Diana. Latona's temple, which con- 
tains the oracle, is a spacious building with a 
gateway ten fathoms in height. The most won- 
derful thing that was actually to be seen about 
this temple was a chapel in the enclosure made 
of a single stone, the length and height of 
which were the same, each wall being forty 
cubits square, and the whole a single block! 
Another block of stone formed the roof and 
projected at the eaves to the extent of four cu- 

156. This, as I have said, was what aston- 
ished me the most, of all the things that were 
actually to be seen about the temple. The next 
greatest marvel was the island called Chem- 
mis. This island lies in the middle of a broad 
and deep lake close by the temple, and the 




natives declare that it floats. For my own part 
I did not see it float, or even move; and I won- 
dered greatly, when they told me concerning 
it, whether there be really such a thing as a 
floating island. It has a grand temple of Apollo 
built upon it, in which are three distinct altars. 
Palm trees grow on it in great abundance, and 
many other trees, some of which bear fruit, 
while others are barren. The Egyptians tell the 
following story in connection with this island, 
to explain the way in which it first came to 
float: "In former times, when the isle was 
still fixed and motionless, Latona, one of the 
eight gods of the first order, who dwelt in the 
city of Buto, where now she has her oracle, re- 
ceived Apollo as a sacred charge from Isis, and 
saved him by hiding him in what is now called 
the floating island. Typhon meanwhile was 
searching everywhere in hopes of finding the 
child of Osiris." (According to the Egyptians, 
Apollo and Diana are the children of Bacchus 
and Isis, while Latona is their nurse and their 
preserver. They call Apollo, in their language, 
Horus; Ceres they call Isis; Diana, Bubastis. 
From this Egyptian tradition, and from no 
other, it must have been that ^schylus, the son 
of Euphorion, took the idea, which is found in 
none of the earlier poets, of making Diana the 
daughter of Ceres.) The island, therefore, in 
consequence of this event, was first made to 
float. Such at least is the account which the 
Egyptians give. 

157. Psammetichus ruled Egypt for fifty- 
four years, during twenty-nine of which he 
pressed the siege of Azotus without intermis- 
sion, till finally he took the place. Azotus is a 
great town in Syria. Of all the cities that we 
know, none ever stood so long a siege. 

158. Psammetichus left a son called Necos, 
who succeeded him upon the throne. This 
prince was the first to attempt the construction 
of the canal to the Red Sea a work completed 
afterwards by Darius the Persian the length 
of which is four days' journey, and the width 
such as to admit of two triremes being rowed 
along it abreast. The water is derived from the 
Nile, which the canal leaves a little above the 
city of Bubastis, near Patftmus, the Arabian 
town, being continued thence until it joins the 
Red Sea. At first it is carried along the Arabian 
side of the Egyptian plain, as far as the chain 
of hills opposite Memphis, whereby the plain 
is bounded, and in which lie the great stone 
quarries; here it skirts the base of the hills run- 
ning in a direction from west to east, after 
which it turns and enters a narrow pass, trend- 

ing southwards from this point until it enters 
the Arabian Gulf. From the northern sea to 
that which is called the southern or Erythraean, 
the shortest and quickest passage, which is 
from Mount Casius, the boundary between 
Egypt and Syria, to the Gulf of Arabia, is a dis- 
tance of exactly one thousand furlongs. But the 
way by the canal is very much longer on ac- 
count of the crookedness of its course. A hun- 
dred and twenty thousand of the Egyptians, 
employed upon the work in the reign of Necos, 
lost their lives in making the excavation. He at 
length desisted from his undertaking, in con- 
sequence of an oracle which warned him "that 
he was labouring for the barbarian." The 
Egyptians call by the name of barbarians all 
such as speak a language different from their 

159. Necos, when he gave up the construc- 
tion of the canal, turned all his thoughts to war, 
and set to work to build a fleet of triremes, 
some intended for service in the northern sea, 
and some for the navigation of the Erythraean. 
These last were built in the Arabian Gulf 
where the dry docks in which they lay are still 
visible. These fleets he employed wherever he 
had occasion, while he also made war by land 
upon the Syrians and defeated them in a 
pitched battle at Magdolus, after which he 
made himself master of Cadytis, a large city of 
Syria. The dress which he wore on these occa- 
sions he sent to Branchidae in Milesia, as an 
offering to Apollo. After having reigned in 
all sixteen years, Necos died, and at his death 
bequeathed the throne to his son Psammis. 

1 60. In the reign of Psammis, ambassadors 
from Elis arrived in Egypt, boasting that their 
arrangements for the conduct of the Olympic 
Games were the best and fairest that could be 
devised, and fancying that not even the Egyp- 
tians, who surpassed all other nations in wis- 
dom, could add anything to their perfection. 
When these persons reached Egypt, and ex- 
plained the reason of their visit, the king sum- 
moned an assembly of all the wisest of the 
Egyptians. They met, and the Eleans having 
given them a full account of all their rules and 
regulations with respect to the contests said 
that they had come to Egypt for the express 
purpose of learning whether the Egyptians 
could improve the fairness of their regulations 
in any particular. The Egyptians considered 
awhile and then made inquiry, "If they al- 
lowed their own citizens to enter the lists?" 
The Eleans answered, "That the lists were 
open to all Greeks, whether they belonged to 



Elis or to any other state." Hereupon the 
Egyptians observed, "That if this were so, they 
departed from justice very widely, since it was 
impossible but that they would favour their 
own countrymen and deal unfairly by for- 
eigners. If therefore they really wished to man- 
age the games with fairness, and if this was the 
object of their coming to Egypt, they advised 
them to confine the contests to strangers, and 
allow no native of Elis to be a candidate." Such 
was the advice which the Egyptians gave to the 

161. Psammis reigned only six years. He 
attacked Ethiopia, and died almost directly 
afterwards. Aprics, his son, succeeded him 
upon the throne, who, excepting Psammeti- 
chus, his great-grandfather, was the most pros- 
perous of all the kings that ever ruled over 
Egypt. The length of his reign was twenty-five 
years, and in the course of it he marched an 
army to attack Sidon, and fought a battle with 
the king of Tyre by sea. When at length the 
time came that was fated to bring him woe, an 
occasion arose which I shall describe more fully 
in my Libyan history, only touching it very 
briefly here. An army despatched by Apries to 
attack Cyrene, having met with a terrible re- 
verse, the Egyptians laid the blame on him, 
imagining that he had, of malice prepense, 
sent the troops into the jaws of destruction. 
They believed he had wished a vast number of 
them to be slain in order that he himself 
might reign with more security over the rest 
of the Egyptians. Indignant therefore at this 
usage, the soldiers who returned and the 
friends of the slain broke instantly into revolt. 

162. Apries, on learning these circumstances, 
sent Amasis to the rebels to appease the tumult 
by persuasion. Upon his arrival, as he was seek- 
ing to restrain the malcontents by his exhorta- 
tions, one of them, coming behind him, put a 
helmet on his head, saying, as he put it on, that 
he thereby crowned him king. Amasis was not 
altogether displeased at the action, as his con- 
duct soon made manifest; for no sooner had the 
insurgents agreed to make him actually their 
king than he prepared to march with them 
against Apries. That monarch, on tidings of 
these events reaching him, sent Patarbemis, 
one of his courtiers, a man of high rank, to 
Amasis with orders to bring him alive into 
his presence. Patarbemis, on arriving at the 
place where Amasis was, called on him to come 
back with him to the king, whereupon Amasis 
broke a coarse jest, and said, "Prythee take 
that back to thy master." When the envoy, not- 

[BOOK ii 

withstanding this reply, persisted in his re- 
quest, exhorting Amasis to obey the summons 
of the king, he made answer "that this was 
exactly what he had long been intending to do; 
Apries would have no reason to complain of 
him on the score of delay; he would shortly 
come himself to the king, and bring others 
with him/* Patarbemis, upon this, compre- 
hending the intention of Amasis, partly from 
his replies and partly from the preparations 
which he saw in progress, departed hastily, 
wishing to inform the king with all speed of 
what was going on. Apries, however, when he 
saw him approaching without Amasis, fell 
into a paroxysm of rage, and not giving him- 
self time for reflection, commanded the nose 
and ears of Patarbemis to be cut off. Then the 
rest of the Egyptians, who had hitherto es- 
poused the cause of Apries, when they saw a 
man of such note among them so shamefully 
outraged, without a moment's hesitation went 
over to the rebels, and put themselves at the 
disposal of Amasis. 

163. Apries, informed of this new calamity, 
armed his mercenaries, and led them against 
the Egyptians: this was a body of Carians and 
lonians, numbering thirty thousand men, 
which was now with him at Sai's, where his 
palace stood a vast building, well worthy of 
notice. The army of Apries marched out to 
attack the host of the Egyptians, while that of 
Amasis went forth to fight the strangers; and 
now both armies drew near the city of Mo- 
memphis and prepared for the coming fight. 

164. The Egyptians are divided into seven 
distinct classes these are, the priests, the war- 
riors, the cowherds, the swineherds, the trades- 
men, the interpreters, and the boatmen. Their 
titles indicate their occupations. The warriors 
consist of Hermotybians and Calasirians, who 
come from different cantons, the whole of 
Egypt being parcelled out into districts bearing 
this name. 

165. The following cantons furnish the 
Hermotybians: The cantons of Busiris, Sai's, 
Chemmis, Papremis, that of the island called 
Prosopitis, and half of Natho. They number, 
when most numerous, a hundred and sixty 
thousand. None of them ever practices a trade, 
but all are given wholly to war. 

1 66. The cantons of the Calasirians are dif- 
ferent they include the following: The can- 
tons of Thebes, Bubastis, Aphthis, Tanis, Men- 
des, Sebennytus, Athribis, Pharbxthus, Th- 
muis, Onuphis, Anysis, and Myecphoris this 
last canton consists of an island which lies over 




against the town of Bubastis. The Calasirians, 
when at their greatest number, have amount- 
ed to two hundred and fifty thousand. Like 
the Hermotybians, they are forbidden to pur- 
sue any trade, and devote themselves entirely 
to warlike exercises, the son following the 
father's calling. 

167. Whether the Greeks borrowed from the 
Egyptians their notions about trade, like so 
many others, I cannot say for certain. I have 
remarked that the Thracians, the Scyths, the 
Persians, the Lydians, and almost all other bar- 
barians, hold the citizens who practice trades, 
and their children, in less repute than the rest, 
while they esteem as noble those who keep 
aloof from handicrafts, and especially honour 
such as are given wholly to war. These ideas 
prevail throughout the whole of Greece, par- 
ticularly among the Lacedaemonians. Corinth 
is the place where mechanics are least despised. 

1 68. The warrior class in Egypt had certain 
special privileges in which none of the rest of 
the Egyptians participated, except the priests. 
In the first place each man had twelve arura 1 
of land assigned him free from tax. (The arura 
is a square of a hundred Egyptian cubits, the 
Egyptian cubit being of the same length as the 
Samian.) All the warriors enjoyed this priv- 
ilege together, but there were other advantages 
which came to each in rotation, the same man 
never obtaining them twice. A thousand Cal- 
asirians, and the same number of Hermoty- 
bians, formed in alternate years the body-guard 
of the king; and during their year of service 
these persons, besides their arurce, received a 
daily portion of meat and drink, consisting of 
five pounds of baked bread, two pounds of 
beef, and four cups of wine. 

169. When Apries, at the head of his mer- 
cenaries, and Amasis, in command of the 
whole native force of the Egyptians, encount- 
ered one another near the city of Momemphis, 
an engagement presently took place. The for- 
eign troops fought bravely, but were over- 
powered by numbers, in which they fell very 
far short of their adversaries. It is said that Ap- 
ries believed that there was not a god who 
could cast him down from his eminence, so 
firmly did he think that he had established 
himself in his kingdom. But at this time the 
battle went against him, and his army being 
worsted, he fell into the enemy's hands and 
was brought back a prisoner to Sais, where he 
was lodged in what had been his own house, 

1 The arura was a little more than three-fourths 
of an English acre, and was only a land measure. 

but was now the palace of Amasis. Amasis 
treated him with kindness, and kept him in 
the palace for a while; but finding his conduct 
blamed by the Egyptians, who charged him 
with acting unjustly in preserving a man who 
had shown himself so bitter an enemy both to 
them and him, he gave Apries over into the 
hands of his former subjects, to deal with as 
they chose. Then the Egyptians took him and 
strangled him, but having so done they buried 
him in the sepulchre of his fathers. This tomb 
is in the temple of Minerva, very near the sanc- 
tuary, on the left hand as one enters. The Saites 
buried all the kings who belonged to their can- 
ton inside this temple; and thus it even con- 
tains the tomb of Amasis, as well as that of Ap- 
ries and his family. The latter is not so close to 
the sanctuary as the former, but still it is with- 
in the temple. It stands in the court, and is a 
spacious cloister built of stone and adorned 
with pillars carved so as to resemble palm trees, 
and with other sumptuous ornaments. Within 
the cloister is a chamber with folding doors, be- 
hind which lies the sepulchre of the king. 

170. Here too, in this same precinct of Mi- 
nerva at Sai's, is the burial-place of one whom 
I think it not right to mention in such a con- 
nection. 2 It stands behind the temple, against 
the backwall, which it entirely covers. There 
are also some large stone obelisks in the en- 
closure, and there is a lake near them, adorned 
with an edging of stone. In form it is circular, 
and in size, as it seemed to me, about equal to 
the lake in Delos called "the Hoop." 

171. On this lake it is that the Egyptians rep- 
resent by night his sufferings whose name I re- 
frain from mentioning, and this representation 
they call their Mysteries. I know well the whole 
course of the proceedings in these ceremonies, 
but they shall not pass my lips. So too, with re- 
gard to the mysteries of Ceres, which the 
Greeks term "the Thcsmophoria," I know 
them, but I shall not mention them, except so 
far as may be done without impiety. The 
daughters of Danaus brought these rites from 
Egypt, and taught them to the Pelasgic women 
of the Peloponnese. Afterwards, when the in- 
habitants of the peninsula were driven from 
their homes by the Dorians, the rites perished. 
Only in Arcadia, where the natives remained 
and were not compelled to migrate, their ob- 
servance continued. 

172. After Apries had been put to death in 
the way that I have described above, Amasis 
reigned over Egypt. He belonged to the can- 

2 Osiris. 



[ BOOK ii 

ton of Sai's, being a native of the town called 
Siouph. At first his subjects looked down on 
him and held him in small esteem, because he 
had been a mere private person, and of a house 
of no great distinction; but after a time Amasis 
succeeded in reconciling them to his rule, not 
by severity, but by cleverness. Among his other 
splendour he had a golden foot-pan, in which 
his guests and himself were wont upon occa- 
sion to wash their feet. This vessel he caused to 
be broken in pieces, and made of the gold an 
image of one of the gods, which he set up in 
the most public place in the whole city; upon 
which the Egyptians flocked to the image, and 
worshipped it with the utmost reverence. Ama- 
sis, finding this was so, called an assembly, and 
opened the matter to them, explaining how the 
image had been made of the foot-pan, wherein 
they had been wont formerly to wash their feet 
and to put all manner of filth, yet now it was 
greatly reverenced. "And truly," he went on to 
say, "it had gone with him as with the foot- 
pan. If he was a private person formerly, yet 
now he had come to be their king. And so he 
bade them honour and reverence him." Such 
was the mode in which he won over the Egyp- 
tians, and brought them to be content to do 
him service. 

173. The following was the general habit of 
his life: from early dawn to the time when 
the forum is wont to fill, he sedulously trans- 
acted all the business that was brought before 
him; during the remainder of the day he drank 
and joked with his guests, passing the time in 
witty and, sometimes, scarce seemly conversa- 
tion. It grieved his friends that he should thus 
demean himself, and accordingly some of them 
chid him on the subject, saying to him "Oh! 
king, thou dost but ill guard thy royal dignity 
whilst thou allowest thyself in such levities. 
Thou shouldest sit in state upon a stately 
throne, and busy thyself with affairs the whole 
day long. So would the Egyptians feel that a 
great man rules them, and thou wouldst be bet- 
ter spoken of. But now thou conductest thy- 
self in no kingly fashion." Amasis answered 
them thus: "Bowmen bend their bows when 
they wish to shoot; unbrace them when the 
shoot'ng is over. Were they kept always strung 
they would break, and fail the archer in time 
of need. So it is with men. If they give them- 
selves constantly to serious work, and never in- 
dulge awhile in pastime or sport, they lose their 
senses, and become mad or moody. Know- 
ing this, I divide my life between pastime 
and business." Thus he answered his friends. 

174. It is said that Amasis, even while he 
was a private man, had the same tastes for 
drinking and jesting, and was averse to engag- 
ing in any serious employment. He lived in 
constant feasts and revelries, and whenever his 
means failed him, he roamed about and robbed 
people. On such occasions the persons from 
whom he had stolen would bring him, if he 
denied the charge, before the nearest oracle; 
sometimes the oracle would pronounce him 
guilty of the theft, at other times it would ac- 
quit him. When afterwards he came to be 
king, he neglected the temples of such gods 
as had declared that he was not a thief, and 
neither contributed totheir adornment nor 
frequented them for sacrifice, since he regard- 
ed them as utterly worthless and their oracles 
as wholly false: but the gods who had detected 
his guilt he considered to be true gods whose 
oracles did not deceive, and these he honoured 

175. First of all, therefore, he built the gate- 
way of the temple of Minerva at Sais, which is 
an astonishing work, far surpassing all other 
buildings of the same kind both in extent and 
height, and built with stones of rare size and 
excellency. In the next place, he presented to 
the temple a number of large colossal statues 
and several prodigious andro-sphinxes, besides 
certain stones for the repairs, of a most extraor- 
dinary size. Some of these he got from the 
quarries over against Memphis, but the largest 
were brought from Elephantine, which is 
twenty days' voyage from Sai's. Of all these 
wonderful masses that which I most admire is 
a chamber made of a single stone, which was 
quarried at Elephantine. It took three years to 
convey this block from the quarry to Sai's; and 
in the conveyance were employed no fewer 
than two thousand labourers, who were all 
from the class of boatmen. The length of this 
chamber on the outside is twenty-one cubits, its 
breadth fourteen cubits, and its height, eight. 
The measurements inside are the following: 
the length, eighteen cubits and five-sixths; the 
breadth, twelve cubits; and the height, five. It 
lies near the entrance of the temple, where it 
was left in consequence of the following cir- 
cumstance: it happened that the architect, 
just as the stone had reached the spot where it 
now stands, heaved a sigh, considering the 
length of time that the removal had taken, and 
feeling wearied with the heavy toil. The sigh 
was heard by Amasis who, regarding it as an 
omen, would not allow the chamber to be 
moved forward any farther. Some, however, 



say that one of the workmen engaged at the 
levers was crushed and killed by the mass, and 
that this was the reason of its being left where 
it now stands. 

176. To the other temples of much note 
Amasis also made magnificent offerings at 
Memphis, for instance, he gave the recumbent 
colossus in front of the temple of Vulcan, 
which is seventy-five feet long. Two other co- 
lossal statues stand on the same base, each 
twenty feet high, carved in the stone of Ethi- 
opia, one on either side of the temple. There 
is also a stone colossus of the same size at Sai's, 
recumbent like that at Memphis. Amasis final- 
ly built the temple of Isis at Memphis, a vast 
structure, well worth seeing. 

177. It is said that the reign of Amasis was 
the most prosperous time that Egypt ever saw, 
the river was more liberal to the land, and 
the land brought forth more abundantly for 
the service of man than had ever been known 
before; while the number of inhabited cities 
was not less than twenty thousand. It was this 
king Amasis who established the law that 
every Egyptian should appear once a year 
before the governor of his canton, and show 
his means of living; or, failing to do so, 
and to prove that he got an honest livelihood, 
should be put to death. Solon the Athenian 
borrowed this law from the Egyptians, and 
imposed it on his countrymen, who have ob- 
served it ever since. It is indeed an excellent 

178. Amasis was partial to the Greeks, and 
among other favours which he granted them, 
gave to such as liked to settle in Egypt the city 
of Naucratis for their residence. To those who 
only wished to trade upon the coast, and did 
not want to fix their abode in the country, he 
granted certain lands where they might set up 
altars and erect temples to the gods. Of these 
temples the grandest and most famous, which 
is also the most frequented, is that called "the 
Hellenium." It Was built conjointly by the lo- 
nians, Dorians, and yEolians, the following 
cities taking part in the work: the Ionian 
states of Chios, Teos, Phocaea, and Clazomenae; 
Rhodes, Cnidus,Halicarnassus,and Phaselis of 
the Dorians; and Mytilene of the ^Eolians. 
These are the states to whom the temple be- 
longs, and they have the right of appointing 
the governors of the factory; the other cities 
which claim a share in the building, claim 
what in no sense belongs to them. Three na- 
tions, however, consecrated for themselves sep- 
arate temples the Eginetans one to Jupiter, 

the Samians to Juno, and the Milesians to 

179. In ancient times there was no factory 
but Naucratis in the whole of Egypt; and if a 
person entered one of the other mouths of the 
Nile, he was obliged to swear that he had not 
come there of his own free will. Having so 
done, he was bound to sail in his ship to the 
Canobic mouth, or were that impossible ow- 
ing to contrary winds, he must take his wares 
by boat all round the Delta, and so bring them 
to Naucratis, which had an exclusive privilege. 

1 80. It happened in the reign of Amasis that 
the temple of Delphi had been accidentally 
burnt, and the Amphictyons had contracted to 
have it rebuilt for three hundred talents, of 
which sum one-fourth was to be furnished by 
the Dclphians. Under these circumstances the 
Delphians went from city to city begging con- 
tributions, and among their other wanderings 
came to Egypt and asked for help. From few 
other places did they obtain so much Amasis 
gave them a thousand talents of alum, and the 
Greek settlers twenty minae. 1 

181. A league was concluded by Amasis 
with the Cyrcnaeans, by which Gyrene* and 
Egypt became close friends and allies. He like- 
wise took a wife from that city, either as a sign 
of his friendly feeling, or because he had a 
fancy to marry a Greek woman. However this 
may be, certain it is that he espoused a lady of 
Gyrene, by name Ladice*, daughter, some say, 
of Battus or Arcesilaiis, the king others, of 
Critobulus, one of the chief citizens. When the 
time came to complete the contract, Amasis 
was struck with weakness. Astonished hercat 
for he was not wont to be so afflicted the 
king thus addressed his bride: " Woman, thou 
hast certainly bewitched me now therefore 
be sure thou shalt perish more miserably than 
ever woman perished yet/' Ladice protested 
her innocence, but in vain; Amasis was not 
softened. Hereupon she made a vow internal- 
ly, that if he recovered within the day (for no 
longer time was allowed her), she would pre- 
sent a statue to the temple of Venus at Gyrene. 
Immediately she obtained her wish, and the 
king's weakness disappeared. Amasis loved 
her greatly ever after, and Ladice performed 
her vow. The statue which she caused to be 
made, and sent to Gyrene, continued there to 
my day, standing with its face looking out- 
wards from the city. Ladice herself, when Cam- 

1 Twenty minae would be somewhat more than 
80. The entire sum which the Delphians had to 
collect exceeded 18,000. 


byses conquered Egypt, suffered no wrong; 
for Cambyses, on learning of her who she was, 
sent her back unharmed to her country. 

182. Besides the marks of favour already 
mentioned, Amasis also enriched with offer- 
ings many of the Greek temples. He sent to 
Gyrene' a statue of Minerva covered with plates 
of gold, and a painted likeness of himself. To 
the Minerva of Lindus he gave two statues in 
stone, and a linen corslet well worth inspec- 
tion. To the Samian Juno he presented two 
statues of himself, made in wood, which stood 

in the great temple to my day, behind the 
doors. Samos was honoured with these gifts on 
account of the bond of friendship subsisting 
between Amasis and Polycrates, the son of 
^Eaces: Lindus, for no such reason, but be- 
cause of the tradition that the daughters of 
Danaus touched there in their flight from the 
sons of ^Egyptus, and built the temple of 
Minerva. Such were the offerings of Amasis. 
He likewise took Cyprus, which no man had 
ever done before, and compelled it to pay him 
a tribute. 

The Third Book, Entitled 

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i. The above-mentioned Amasis was the Egyp- 
tian king against whom Cambyses, son of Cy- 
rus, made his expedition; and with him went 
an army composed of the many nations under 
his rule, among them being included both Io- 
nic and ^Eolic Greeks. The reason of the inva- 
sion was the following. Cambyses, by the ad- 
vice of a certain Egyptian, who was angry with 
Amasis for having torn him from his wife and 
children and given him over to the Persians, 
had sent a herald to Amasis to ask his daughter 
in marriage. His adviser was a physician, 
whom Amasis, when Cyrus had requested 
that he would send him the most skilful of all 
the Egyptian eye-doctors, singled out as the 
best from the whole number. Therefore the 
Egyptian bore Amasis a grudge, and his rea- 
son for urging Cambyses to ask the hand of 
the king's daughter was, that if he complied, it 
might cause him annoyance; if he refused, it 
might make Cambyses his enemy. When the 
message came, Amasis, who much dreaded the 
power of the Persians, was greatly perplexed 
whether to give his daughter or no; for that 
Cambyses did not intend to make her his wife, 
but would only receive her as his concubine, he 
knew for certain. He therefore cast the matter 
in his mind, and finally resolved what he 
would do. There was a daughter of the late 
king Apries, named Nitetis, a tail and beautiful 
woman, the last survivor of that royal house. 
Amasis took this woman, and decking her 
out with gold and costly garments, sent her to 
Persia as if she had been his own child. Some 
time afterwards, Cambyses, as he gave her an 
embrace, happened to call her by her father's 
name, whereupon she said to him, "I see, O 
king, thou knowest not how thou has been 
cheated by Amasis; who took me, and, trick- 
ing me out with gauds, sent me to thee as his 
own daughter. But I am in truth the child of 
Apries, who was his lord and master, until he 


rebelled against him, together with the rest of 
the Egyptians, and put him to death." It was 
this speech, and the cause of quarrel it dis- 
closed, which roused the anger of Cambyses, 
son of Cyrus, and brought his arms upon 
Egypt. Such is the Persian story. 

2. The Egyptians, however, claim Cambyses 
as belonging to them, declaring that he was the 
son of this Nitetis. It was Cyrus, they say, and 
not Cambyses, who sent to Amasis for his 
daughter. But here they mis-state the truth. 
Acquainted as they are beyond all other men 
with the laws and customs of the Persians, they 
cannot but be well aware, first, that it is not 
the Persian wont to allow a bastard to reign 
when there is a legitimate heir; and next, that 
Cambyses was the son of Cassandane, the 
daughter of Pharnaspes, an Achaemenian, and 
not of this Egyptian. But the fact is that they 
pervert history in order to claim relationship 
with the house of Cyrus. Such is the truth of 
this matter. 

3. I have also heard another account, which 
I do not at all believe: that a Persian lady 
came to visit the wives of Cyrus, and seeing 
how tall and beautiful were the children of 
Cassandane, then standing by, broke out into 
loud praise of them, and admired trjem ex- 
ceedingly. But Cassandan, wife of Cyrus, an- 
swered, "Though such the children I have 
borne him, yet Cyrus slights me and gives all 
his regard to the new-comer from Egypt." 
Thus did she express her vexation on account 
of Nitetis: whereupon Cambyses, the eldest of 
her boys, exclaimed, "Mother, when I am a 
man, I will turn Egypt upside down for you." 
He was but ten years old, as the tale runs, when 
he said this, and astonished all the women, yet 
he never forgot it afterwards; and on this ac- 
count, they say, when he came to be a man, and 
mounted the throne, he made his expedition 
against Egypt. 



4. There was another matter, quite distinct, 
which helped to bring about the expedition. 
One of the mercenaries of Amasis, a Halicar- 
nassian, Phanes by name, a man of good judg- 
ment, and a brave warrior, dissatisfied for 
some reason or other with his master, deserted 
the service, and taking ship, fled to Cambyses, 
wishing to get speech with him. As he was a 
person of no small account among the mercen- 
aries, and one who could give very exact in- 
telligence about Egypt, Amasis, anxious to re- 
cover him, ordered that he should be pursued. 
He gave the matter in charge to one of the 
most trusty of the eunuchs, who went in quest 
of the Halicarnassian in a vessel of war. The 
eunuch caught him in Lycia, but did not con- 
trive to bring him back to Egypt, for Phanes 
outwitted him by making his guards drunk, 
and then escaping into Persia. Now it hap- 
pened that Cambyses was meditating his at- 
tack on Egypt, and doubting how he might 
best pass the desert, when Phanes arrived, and 
not only told him all the secrets of Amasis, but 
advised him also how the desert might be 
crossed. He counselled him to send an ambas- 
sador to the king of the Arabs, and ask him 
for safe-conduct through the region. 

5. Now the only entrance into Egypt is by 
this desert: the country from Phoenicia to the 
borders of the city Cadytis belongs to the peo- 
ple called the Palestine Syrians; from Cadytis, 
which it appears to me is a city almost as large 
as Sardis, the marts upon the coast till you 
reach Jenysus are the Arabian king's; after 
Jenysus the Syrians again come in, and extend 
to Lake Serbonis, near the place where Mount 
Casius juts out into the sea. At Lake Serb6nis, 
where the tale goes that Typhon hid himself, 
Egypt begins. Now the whole tract between 
Jenysus on the one side, and Lake Serb6nis and 
Mount Casius on the other, and this is no small 
space, being as much as three days' journey, is 
a dry desert without a drop of water. 

6. I shall now mention a thing of which few 
of those who sail to Egypt are aware. Twice a 
year wine is brought into Egypt from every 
part of Greece, as well as from Phoenicia, in 
earthen jars; and yet in the whole country you 
will nowhere see, as I may say, a single jar. 
What then, every one will ask, becomes of the 
jars? This, too, I will clear up. The burgomas- 
ter of each town has to collect the wine-jars 
within his district, and to carry them to Mem- 
phis, where they are all filled with water by 
the Memphians, who then convey them to this 
desert tract of Syria. And so it comes to pass 

[BooK ill 

that all the jars which enter Egypt year by 
year, and are there put up to sale, find their 
way into Syria, whither all the old jars have 
gone before them. 

7. This way of keeping the passage into 
Egypt fit for use by storing water there, was 
begun by the Persians so soon as they became 
masters of that country. As, however, at the 
time of which we speak the tract had not yet 
been so supplied, Cambyses took the advice of 
his Halicarnassian guest, and sent messengers 
to the Arabian to beg a safe-conduct through 
the region. The Arabian granted his prayer, 
and each pledged faith to the other. 

8. The Arabs keep such pledges more re- 
ligiously than almost any other people. They 
plight faith with the forms following. When 
two men would swear a friendship, they stand 
on each side of a third: he with a sharp stone 
makes a cut on the inside of the hand of each 
near the middle finger, and, taking a piece 
from their dress, dips it in the blood of each, 
and moistens therewith seven stones lying in 
the midst, calling the while on Bacchus and 
Urania. After this, the man who makes the 
pledge commends the stranger (or the citizen, 
if citizen he be) to all his friends, and they 
deem themselves bound to stand to the engage- 
ment. They have but these two gods, to wit, 
Bacchus and Urania; and they say that in their 
mode of cutting the hair, they follow Bacchus. 
Now their practice is to cut it in a ring, away 
from the temples. Bacchus they call in their 
language Orotal, and Urania, Alilat. 

9. When, therefore, the Arabian had pledged 
his faith to the messengers of Cambyses, he 
straightway contrived as follows: he filled a 
number of camels' skins with water, and load- 
ing therewith all the live camels that he pos- 
sessed, drove them into the desert, and awaited 
the coming of the army. This is the more like- 
ly of the two tales that are told. The other is an 
improbable story, but, as it is related, I think 
that I ought not to pass it by. There is a great 
river in Arabia, called the Corys, which emp- 
ties itself into the Erythraean sea. The Arabian 
king, they say, made a pipe of the skins of 
oxen and other beasts, reaching from this river 
all the way to the desert, and so brought the 
water to certain cisterns which he had had dug 
in the desert to receive it. It is a twelve days' 
journey from the river to this desert tract. And 
the water, they say, was brought through three 
different pipes to three separate places. 

10. Psammenitus, son of Amasis, lay en- 
camped at the mouth of the Nile, called the 

4-14 ] 



Pelusiac, awaiting Cambyscs. For Cambyses, 
when he went up against Egypt, found Amasis 
no longer in life: he had died after ruling 
Egypt forty and four years, during all which 
time no great misfortune had befallen him. 
When he died, his body was embalmed, and 
buried in the tomb which he had himself 
caused to be made in the temple. After his son 
Psammenitus had mounted the throne, a 
strange prodigy occurred in Egypt rain fell 
at Egyptian Thebes, a thing which never hap- 
pened before, and which, to the present time, 
has never happened again, as the Thebans 
themselves testify. In Upper Egypt it does not 
usually rain at all; but on this occasion, rain 
fell at Thebes in small drops. 

11. The Persians crossed the desert, and, 
pitching their camp close to the Egyptians, 
made ready for battle. Hereupon the merce- 
naries in the pay of Psammenitus, who were 
Greeks and Carians, full of anger against 
Phanes for having brought a foreign army 
upon Egypt, bethought themselves of a mode 
whereby they might be revenged on him. 
Phanes had left sons in Egypt. The mercena- 
ries took these, and leading them to the camp, 
displayed them before the eyes of their father; 
after which they brought out a bowl, and, 
placing it in the space between the two hosts, 
they led the sons of Phanes, one by one, to the 
vessel, and slew them over it. When the last 
was dead, water and wine were poured into 
the bowl, and all the soldiers tasted of the 
blood, and so they went to the battle. Stubborn 
was the fight which followed, and it was not 
till vast numbers had been slain upon both 
sides, that the Egyptians turned and fled. 

12. On the field where this battle was fought 
I saw a very wonderful thing which the natives 
pointed out to me. The bones of the slain lie 
scattered upon the field in two lots, those of 
the Persians in one place by themselves, as the 
bodies lay at the first those of the Egyptians 
in another place apart from them. If, then, you 
strike the Persian skulls, even with a pebble, 
they are so weak, that you break a hole in 
them; but the Egyptian skulls are so strong, 
that you may smite them with a stone and you 
will scarcely break them in. They gave me the 
following reason for this difference, which 
seemed to me likely enough: The Egyptians 
(they said) from early childhood have the 
head shaved, and so by the action of the sun 
the skull becomes thick and hard. The same 
cause prevents baldness in Egypt, where you 
see fewer bald men than in any other land. 

Such, then, is the reason why the skulls of the 
Egyptians are so strong. The Persians, on the 
other hand, have feeble skulls, because they 
keep themselves shaded from the first, wearing 
turbans upon their heads. What I have here 
mentioned I saw with my own eyes, and I ob- 
served also the like at Papremis, in the case of 
the Persians who were killed with Achaemenes, 
the son of Darius, by Inarus the Libyan. 

13. The Egyptians who fought in the battle, 
no sooner turned their backs upon the enemy, 
than they fled away in complete disorder to 
Memphis, where they shut themselves up with- 
in the walls. Hereupon Cambyses sent a My- 
tilenaean vessel, with a Persian herald on board, 
who was to sail up the Nile to Memphis, and 
invite the Egyptians to a surrender. They, 
however, when they saw the vessel entering 
the town, poured forth in crowds from the 
castle, destroyed the ship, and, tearing the crew 
limb from limb, so bore them into the fortress. 
After this Memphis was besieged, and in due 
time surrendered. Hereon the Libyans who 
bordered upon Egypt, fearing the fate of that 
country, gave themselves up to Cambyses with- 
out a battle, made an agreement to pay tribute 
to him, and forthwith sent him gifts. The Cy- 
renacans too, and the Barcaeans, having the 
same fear as the Libyans, immediately did the 
like. Cambyses received the Libyan presents 
very graciously, but not so the gifts of the Cy- 
renaeans. They had sent no more than five hun- 
dred minae of silver, which Cambyscs, I im- 
agine, thought too little. He therefore snatched 
the money from them, and with his own hands 
scattered it among his soldiers. 

14. Ten days after the fort had fallen, Cam- 
byses resolved to try the spirit of Psammenitus, 
the Egyptian king, whose whole reign had 
been but six months. He therefore had him set 
in one of the suburbs, and many other Egyp- 
tians with him, and there subjected him to in- 
sult. First of all he sent his daughter out from 
the city, clothed in the garb of a slave, with a 
pitcher to draw water. Many virgins, the 
daughters of the chief nobles, accompanied 
her, wearing the same dress. When the damsels 
came opposite the place where their fathers 
sate, shedding tears and uttering cries of woe, 
the fathers, all but Psammenitus, wept and 
wailed in return, grieving to see their children 
in so sad a plight; but he, when he had looked 
and seen, bent his head towards the ground. 
In this way passed by the water-carriers. Next 
to them came Psammenitus 1 son, and two thou- 
sand Egyptians of the same age with him all 



[BOOK in 

of them having ropes round their necks and 
bridles in their mouths and they too passed 
by on their way to suffer death for the murder 
of the Mytilenaeans who were destroyed, with 
their vessel, in Memphis. For so had the royal 
judges given their sentence "for each My- 
tilenaean ten of the noblest Egyptians must for- 
feit life." King Psammcnitus saw the train pass 
on, and knew his son was being led to death, 
but while the other Egyptians who sate 
around him wept and were sorely troubled, he 
showed no further sign than when he saw his 
daughter. And now, when they too were gone, 
it chanced that one of his former boon-com- 
panions, a man advanced in years, who had 
been stripped of all that he had and was a beg- 
gar, came where Psammenitus, son of Amasis, 
and the rest of the Egyptians were, asking alms 
from the soldiers. At this sight the king burst 
into tears, and weeping out aloud, called his 
friend by his name, and smote himself on the 
head. Now there were some who had been set 
to watch Psammenitus and see what he would 
do as each train went by; so these persons went 
and told Cambyses of his behaviour. Then he, 
astonished at what was done, sent a messenger 
to Psammenitus, and questioned him, saying, 
"Psammenitus, thy lord Cambyses asketh thee 
why, when thou sawest thy daughter brought 
to shame, and thy son on his way to death, 
thou didst neither utter cry nor shed tear, 
while to a beggar, who is, he hears, a stranger 
to thy race, thou gavest those marks of hon- 
our." To this question Psammenitus made an- 
swer, "O son of Cyrus, my own misfortunes 
were too great for tears; but the woe of my 
friend deserved them. When a man falls from 
splendour and plenty into beggary at the thres- 
hold of old age, one may well weep for him." 
When the messenger brought back this answer, 
Cambyses owned it was just; Croesus, likewise, 
the Egyptians say, burst into tears for he too 
had come into Egypt with Cambyses and the 
Persians who were present wept. Even Cam- 
byses himself was touched with pity, and he 
forthwith gave an order that the son of Psam- 
menitus should be spared from the number of 
those appointed to die, and Psammenitus him- 
self brought from the suburb into his presence. 
15. The messengers were too late to save the 
life of Psammenitus* son, who had been cut 
in pieces the first of all; but they took Psam- 
menitus himself and brought him before the 
king. Cambyses allowed him to live with him, 
and gave him no more harsh treatment; nay, 
could he have kept from intermeddling with 

affairs, he might have recovered Egypt, and 
ruled it as governor. For the Persian wont is to 
treat the sons of kings with honour, and even 
to give their fathers' kingdoms to the children 
of such as revolt from them. There are many 
cases from which one may collect that this is 
the Persian rule, and especially those of Pau- 
siris and Thannyras. Thannyras was son of 
Inarus the Libyan, and was allowed to succeed 
his father, as was also Pausiris, son of Amyr- 
taeus; yet certainly no two persons ever did the 
Persians more damage than Amyrtaeus and 
Inarus. In this case Psammenitus plotted evil, 
and received his reward accordingly. He was 
discovered to be stirring up revolt in Egypt, 
wherefore Cambyses, when his guilt clearly 
appeared, compelled him to drink bull's blood, 
which presently caused his death. Such was the 
end of Psammenitus. 

1 6. After this Cambyses left Memphis, and 
went to Sai's, wishing to do that which he actu- 
ally did on his arrival there. He entered the 
palace of Amasis, and straightway commanded 
that the body of the king should be brought 
forth from the sepulchre. When the attendants 
did according to his commandment, he further 
bade them scourge the body, and prick it with 
goads, and pluck the hair from it, 1 and heap 
upon it all manner of insults. The body, how- 
ever, having been embalmed, resisted, and re- 
fused to come apart, do what they would to it; 
so the attendants grew weary of their work; 
whereupon Cambyses bade them take the 
corpse and burn it. This was truly an impious 
command to give, for the Persians hold fire to 
be a god, and never by any chance burn their 
dead. Indeed this practice is unlawful, both 
with them and with the Egyptians with them 
for the reason above mentioned, since they 
deem it wrong to give the corpse of a man to a 
god; and with the Egyptians, because they be- 
lieve fire to be a live animal, which eats what- 
ever it can seize, and then, glutted with the 
food, dies with the matter which it feeds upon. 
Now to give a man's body to be devoured by 
beasts is in no wise agreeable to their customs, 
and indeed this is the very reason why they 
embalm their dead; namely, to prevent them 
from being eaten in the grave by worms. Thus 
Cambyses commanded what both nations ac- 
counted unlawful. According to the Egyptians, 

1 This is evidently a Greek statement, and not 
derived from the Egyptian priests. There was no 
hair to pluck out, the "head and all the body" of 
the kings and priests being shaved. The whole 
story may be doubted. 



it was not Amasis who was thus treated, but 
another of their nation who was of about the 
same height. The Persians, believing this man's 
body to be the king's, abused it in the fashion 
described above. Amasis, they say, was warned 
by an oracle of what would happen to him 
after his death: in order, therefore, to prevent 
the impending fate, he buried the body, which 
afterwards received the blows, inside his own 
tomb near the entrance, commanding his son 
to bury him, when he died, in the furthest re- 
cess of the same sepulchre. For my own part 
I do not believe that these orders were ever 
given by Amasis; the Egyptians, as it seems to 
me, falsely assert it, to save their own dignity. 

17. After this Cambyses took counsel with 
himself, and planned three expeditions. One 
was against the Carthaginians, another against 
the Ammonians, and a third against the long- 
lived Ethiopians, who dwelt in that part of 
Libya which borders upon the southern sea. 
He judged it best to despatch his fleet against 
Carthage and to send some portion of his land 
army to act against the Ammonians, while his 
spies went into Ethiopia, under the pretence of 
carrying presents to the king, but in reality to 
take note of all they saw, and especially to ob- 
serve whether there was really what is called 
"the table of the Sun" in Ethiopia. 

1 8. Now the table of the Sun according to 
the accounts given of it may be thus described: 
It is a meadow in the skirts of their city full 
of the boiled flesh of all manner of beasts, 
which the magistrates are careful to store with 
meat every night, and where whoever likes 
may come and eat during the day. The people 
of the land say that the earth itself brings forth 
the food. Such is the description which is given 
of this table. 

19. When Cambyses had made up his mind 
that the spies should go, he forthwith sent to 
Elephantine* for certain of the Icthyophagi who 
were acquainted with the Ethiopian tongue; 
and, while they were being fetched, issued or- 
ders to his fleet to sail against Carthage. But the 
Phoenicians said they would not go, since they 
were bound to the Carthaginians by solemn 
oaths, and since besides it would be wicked in 
them to make war on their own children. Now 
when the Phoenicians refused, the rest of the 
fleet was unequal to the undertaking; and so it 
was that the Carthaginians escaped, and were 
not enslaved by the Persians. Cambyses 
thought it not right to force the war upon the 
Phoenicians, because they had yielded them- 
selves to the Persians, and because upon the 

Phoenicians all his sea-service depended. The 
Cyprians had also joined the Persians of their 
own accord, and took part with them in the 
expedition against Egypt. 

20. As soon as the Icthyophagi arrived from 
Elephantine", Cambyses, having told them 
what they were to say, forthwith despatched 
them into Ethiopia with these following gifts: 
to wit, a purple robe, a gold chain for the neck, 
armlets, an alabaster box of myrrh, and a cask 
of palm wine. The Ethiopians to whom this 
embassy was sent are said to be the tallest and 
handsomest men in the whole world. In their 
customs they differ greatly from the rest of 
mankind, and particularly in the way they 
choose their kings; for they find out the man 
who is the tallest of all the citizens, and of 
strength equal to his height, and appoint him 
to rule over them. 

21. The Icthyophagi on reaching this peo- 
ple, delivered the gifts to the king of the coun- 
try, and spoke as follows: "Cambyses, king 
of the Persians, anxious to become thy ally and 
sworn friend, has sept us to hold converse with 
thee, and to bear thee the gifts thou seest, 
which are the things wherein he himself de- 
lights the most." Hereon the Ethiopian, who 
knew they came as spies, made answer: "The 
king of the Persians sent you not with these 
gifts because he much desired to become my 
sworn friend nor is the account which ye give 
of yourselves true, for ye are come to search 
out my kingdom. Also your king is not a just 
man for were he so, he had not coveted a 
land which is not his own, nor brought slavery 
on a people who never did him any wrong. 
Bear him this bow, and say 'The king of the 
Ethiops thus advises the king of the Persians 
when the Persians can pull a bow of this 
strength thus easily, then let him come with 
an army of superior strength against the long- 
lived Ethiopians till then, let him thank the 
gods that they have not put it into the heart of 
the sons of the Ethiops to covet countries 
which do not belong to them.' " 

22. So speaking, he unstrung the bow, and 
gave it into the hands of the messengers. Then, 
taking the purple robe, he asked them what it 
was, and how it had been made. They an- 
swered truly, telling him concerning the pur- 
ple, and the art of the dyer whereat he ob- 
served "that the men were deceitful, and their 
garments also." Next he took the neck-chain 
and the armlets, and asked about them. So the 
Icthyophagi explained their use as ornaments. 
Then the king laughed, and fancying they 



were fetters, said, "the Ethiopians had much 
stronger ones." Thirdly, he inquired about the 
myrrh, and when they told him how it was 
made and rubbed upon the limbs, he said the 
same as he had said about the robe. Last of all 
he came to the wine, and having learnt their 
way of making it, he drank a draught, which 
greatly delighted him; whereupon he asked 
what the Persian king was wont to eat, and to 
what age the longest-lived of the Persians had 
been known to attain. They told him that the 
king ate bread, and described the nature of 
wheat adding that eighty years was the 
longest term of man's life among the Persians. 
Hereat he remarked, "It did not surprise him, 
if they fed on dirt, that they died so soon; in- 
deed he was sure they never would have lived 
so long as eighty years, except for the refresh- 
ment they got from that drink (meaning the 
wine), wherein he confessed the Persians sur- 
passed the Ethiopians." 

23. The Icthyophagi then in their turn ques- 
tioned the king concerning the term of life, 
and diet of his people, and were told that most 
of them lived to be a hundred and twenty 
years old, while some even went beyond that 
age they ate boiled flesh, and had for their 
drink nothing but milk. When the Icthyo- 
phagi showed wonder at the number of the 
years, he led them to a fountain, wherein when 
they had washed, they found their flesh all glos- 
sy and sleek, as if they had bathed in oil and 
a scent came from the spring like that of vio- 
lets. The water was so weak, they said, that 
nothing would float in it, neither wood, nor 
any lighter substance, but all went to the bot- 
tom. If the account of this fountain be true, it 
would be their constant use of the water from 
it which makes them so long-lived. When they 
quitted the fountain the king led them to a 
prison, where the prisoners were all of them 
bound with fetters of gold. Among these Ethi- 
opians copper is of all metals the most scarce 
and valuable. After they had seen the prison, 
they were likewise shown what is called "the 
table of the Sun." 

24. Also, last of all, they were allowed to 
behold the coffins of the Ethiopians, which are 
made (according to report) of crystal, after the 
following fashion: When the dead body has 
been dried, either in the Egyptian, or in some 
other manner, they cover the whole with gyp- 
sum, and adorn it with painting until it is as 
like the living man as possible. Then they place 
the body in a crystal pillar which has been hol- 
lowed out to receive it, crystal being dug up 

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in great abundance in their country, and of a 
kind very easy to work. You may see the corpse 
through the pillar within which it lies; and it 
neither gives out any unpleasant odour, nor is 
it in any respect unseemly; yet there is no part 
that is not as plainly visible as if the body were 
bare. The next of kin keep the crystal pillar in 
their houses for a full year from the time of 
the death, and give it the first fruits continual- 
ly, and honour it with sacrifice. After the year 
is out they bear the pillar forth, and set it up 
near the town. 

25. When the spies had now seen every- 
thing, they returned back to Egypt, and made 
report to Cambyses, who was stirred to anger 
by their words. Forthwith he set out on his 
march against the Ethiopians without having 
made any provision for the sustenance of his 
army, or reflected that he was about to wage 
war in the uttermost parts of the earth. Like a 
senseless madman as he was, no sooner did he 
receive the report of the Icthyophagi than he 
began his march, bidding the Greeks who 
were with his army remain where they were, 
and taking only his land force with him. At 
Thebes, which he passed through on his way, 
he detached from his main body some fifty 
thousand men, and sent them against the Am- 
monians with orders to carry the people into 
captivity, and burn the oracle of Jupiter. Mean- 
while he himself went on with the rest of his 
forces against the Ethiopians. Before, however, 
he had accomplished one-fifth part of the dis- 
tance, all that the army had in the way of pro- 
visions failed; whereupon the men began to eat 
the sumpter beasts, which shortly failed also. 
If then, at this time, Cambyses, seeing what 
was happening, had confessed himself in the 
wrong, and led his army back, he would have 
done the wisest thing that he could after the 
mistake made at the outset; but as it was, he 
took no manner of heed, but continued to 
march forwards. So long as the earth gave 
them anything, the soldiers sustained life by 
eating the grass and herbs; but when they 
came to the bare sand, a portion of them were 
guilty of a horrid deed: by tens they cast lots 
for a man, who was slain to be the food of the 
others. When Cambyses heard of these doings, 
alarmed at such cannibalism, he gave up his 
attack on Ethiopia, and retreating by the way 
he had come, reached Thebes, after he had lost 
vast numbers of his soldiers. From Thebes he 
marched down to Memphis, where he dis- 
missed the Greeks, allowing them to sail home. 
And so ended the expedition against Ethiopia. 

23-3 1 ] 



26. The men sent to attack the Ammonians, 
started from Thebes, having guides with them, 
and may be clearly traced as far as the city 
Oasis, which is inhabited by Samians, said to 
be of the tribe ^Eschrionia. The place is distant 
from Thebes seven days' journey across the 
sand, and is called in our tongue "the Island of 
the Blessed." Thus far the army is known to 
have made its way; but thenceforth nothing is 
to be heard of them, except what the Ammo- 
nians, and those who get their knowledge from 
them, report.' It is certain they neither reached 
the Ammonians, nor even came back to Egypt. 
Further than this, the Ammonians relate as 
follows: That the Persians set forth from Oa- 
sis across the sand, and had reached about half 
way between that place and themselves when, 
as they were at their midday meal, a wind 
arose from the south, strong and deadly, bring- 
ing with it vast columns of whirling sand, 
which entirely covered up the troops and 
caused them wholly to disappear. Thus, ac- 
cording to the Ammonians, did it fare with 
this army. 

27. About the time when Cambyses arrived 
at Memphis, Apis appeared to the Egyptians. 
Now Apis is the god whom the Greeks call 
Epaphus. As soon as he appeared, straightway 
all the Egyptians arrayed themselves in their 
gayest garments, and fell to feasting and jolli- 
ty: which when Cambyses saw, making sure 
that these rejoicings were on account of his 
own ill success, he called before him the officers 
who had charge of Memphis, and demanded of 
them "Why, when he was in Memphis be- 
fore, the Egyptians had done nothing of this 
kind, but waited until now, when he had re- 
turned with the loss of so many of his troops?" 
The officers made answer, "That one of their 
gods had appeared to them, a god who at long 
intervals of time had been accustomed to show 
himself in Egypt and that always on his ap- 
pearance the whole of Egypt feasted and kept 
jubilee." When Cambyses heard this, he told 
them that they lied, and as liars he condemned 
them all to suffer death. 

28. When they were dead, he called the 
priests to his presence, and questioning them 
received the same answer; whereupon he ob- 
served, "That he would soon know whether a 
tame god had really come to dwell in Egypt" 
and straightway, without another word, he 
bade them bring Apis to him. So they went out 
from his presence to fetch the god. Now this 
Apis, or Epaphus, is the calf of a cow which is 
never afterwards able to bear young. The 

Egyptians say that fire comes down from heav- 
en upon the cow, which thereupon conceives 
Apis. The calf which is so called has the fol- 
lowing marks: He is black, with a square 
spot of white upon his forehead, and on his 
back the figure of an eagle; the hairs in his tail 
are double, and there is a beetle upon his 

29. When the priests returned bringing Apis 
with them, Cambyses, like the harebrained 
person that he was, drew his dagger, and 
aimed at the belly of the animal, but missed 
his mark, and stabbed him in the thigh. Then 
he laughed, and said thus to the priests: "Oh! 
blockheads, and think ye that gods become 
like this, of flesh and blood, and sensible to 
steel? A fit god indeed for Egyptians, such an 
one! But it shall cost you dear that you have 
made me your laughing-stock." When he had 
so spoken, he ordered those whose business it 
was to scourge the priests, and if they found 
any of the Egyptians keeping festival to put 
them to death. Thus was the feast stopped 
throughout the land of Egypt, and the priests 
suffered punishment. Apis, wounded in the 
thigh, lay some time pining in the temple; at 
last he died of his wound, and the priests bur- 
ied him secretly without the knowledge of 

30. And now Cambyses, who even before 
had not been quite in his right mind, was 
forthwith, as the Egyptians say, smitten with 
madness for this crime. The first of his out- 
rages was the slaying of Smerdis, his full broth- 
er, whom he had sent back to Persia from 
Egypt out of envy, because he drew the bow 
brought from the Ethiopians by the Icthyo- 
phagi (which none of the other Persians were 
able to bend) the distance of two fingers' 
breadth. When Smerdis was departed into 
Persia, Cambyses had a vision in his sleep he 
thought a messenger from Persia came to him 
with tidings that Smerdis sat upon the royal 
throne and with his head touched the heav- 
ens. Fearing therefore for himself, and think- 
ing it likely that his brother would kill him 
and rule in his stead, Cambyses sent into Per- 
sia Prexaspes, whom he trusted beyond all the 
other Persians, bidding him put Smerdis to 
death. So this Prexaspes went up to Susa and 
slew Smerdis. Some say he killed him as they 
hunted together, others, that he took him 
down to the Erythraean Sea, and there drowned 

31. This, it is said, was the first outrage 
which Cambyses committed. The second was 



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the slaying of his sister, who had accompanied 
him into Egypt, and lived with him as his wife, 
though she was his full sister, the daughter 
both of his father and his mother. The way 
wherein he had made her his wife was the fol- 
lowing: It was not the custom of the Per- 
sians, before his time, to marry their sisters 
but Cambyses, happening to fall in love with 
one of his and wishing to take her to wife, as 
he knew that it was an uncommon thing, called 
together the royal judges, and put it to them, 
"whether there was any law which allowed a 
brother, if he wished, to marry his sister?" 
Now the royal judges are certain picked men 
among the Persians, who hold their office for 
life, or until they are found guilty of some mis- 
conduct. By them justice is administered in 
Persia, and they arc the interpreters of the old 
laws, all disputes being referred to their deci- 
sion. When Cambyses, therefore, put his ques- 
tion to these judges, they gave him an answer 
which was at once true and safe "they did not 
find any law," they said, "allowing a brother 
to take his sister to wife, but they found a law, 
that the king of the Persians might do what- 
ever he pleased." And so they neither warped 
the law through fear of Cambyses, nor ruined 
themselves by over stiffly maintaining the law; 
but they brought another quite distinct law to 
the king's help, which allowed him to have his 
wish. Cambyses, therefore, married the object 
of his love, and no long time afterwards he 
took to wife another sister. It was the younger 
of these who went with him into Egypt, and 
there suffered death at his hands. 

32. Concerning the manner of her death, as 
concerning that of Smerdis, two different ac- 
counts are given. The story which the Greeks 
tell is that Cambyses had set a young dog to 
fight the cub of a lioness his wife looking on 
at the time. Now the dog was getting the 
worse, when a pup of the same litter broke his 
chain, and came to his brother's aid then the 
two dogs together fought the lion, and con- 
quered him. The thing greatly pleased Cam- 
byses, but his sister who was sitting by shed 
tears. When Cambyses saw this, he asked her 
why she wept: whereon she told him, that see- 
ing the young dog come to his brother's aid 
made her think of Smerdis, whom there was 
none to help. For this speech, the Greeks say, 
Cambyses put her to death. But the Egyptians 
tell the story thus: The two were sitting at 
table, when the sister took a lettuce, and strip- 
ping the leaves off, asked her brother "when 
he thought the lettuce looked the prettiest 

when it had all its leaves on, or now that it was 
stripped?" He answered, "When the leaves 
were on." "But thou," she rejoined, "hast done 
as I did to the lettuce, and made bare the house 
of Cyrus." Then Cambyses was wroth, and 
sprang fiercely upon her, though she was with 
child at the time. And so it came to pass that 
she miscarried and died. 

33. Thus mad was Cambyses upon his own 
kindred, and this either from his usage of Apis, 
or from some other among the many causes 
from which calamities are wont to arise. They 
say that from his birth he was afflicted with a 
dreadful disease, the disorder which some call 
"the sacred sickness." 1 It would be by no 
means strange, therefore, if his mind were af- 
fected in some degree, seeing that his body la- 
boured under so sore a malady. 

34. He was mad also upon others besides his 
kindred; among the rest, upon Prexaspes, the 
man whom he esteemed beyond all the rest of 
the Persians, who carried his messages, and 
whose son held the office an honour of no 
small account in Persia of his cupbearer. 
Him Cambyses is said to have once addressed 
as follows: "What sort of man, Prexaspes, do 
the Persians think me? What do they say of 
me?" Prexaspes answered, "Oh! sire, they 
praise thee greatly in all things but one they 
say thou art too much given to love of wine." 
Such Prexaspes told him was the judgment of 
the Persians; whereupon Cambyses, full of 
rage, made answer, "What? they say now that 
I drink too much wine, and so have lost my 
senses, and am gone out of my mind! Then 
their former speeches about me were untrue." 
For once, when the Persians were sitting with 
him, and Crcesus was by, he had asked them, 
"What sort of man they thought him com- 
pared to his father Cyrus?" Hereon they had 
answered, "That he surpassed his father, for he 
was lord of all that his father ever ruled, and 
further had made himself master of Egypt, 
and the sea." Then Crcesus, who was standing 
near, and misliked the comparison, spoke thus 
to Cambyses: "In my judgment, O son of Cy- 
rus, thou art not equal to thy father, for thou 
hast not yet left behind thee such a son as he." 
Cambyses was delighted when he heard this 
reply, and praised the judgment of Croesus. 

35. Recollecting these answers, Cambyses 
spoke fiercely to Prexaspes, saying, "Judge now 
thyself, Prexaspes, whether the Persians tell 
the truth, or whether it is not they who are 
mad for speaking as they do. Look there now 

1 Epilepsy. 




at thy son standing in the vestibule if I shoot 
and hit him right in the middle of the heart, 
it will be plain the Persians have no grounds 
for what they say: if I miss him, then I allow 
that the Persians are right, and that I am out 
of my mind." So speaking he drew his bow to 
the full, and struck the boy, who straightway 
fell down dead. Then Cambyses ordered the 
body to be opened, and the wound examined; 
and when the arrow was found to have entered 
the heart, the king was quite overjoyed, and 
said to the father with a laugh, "Now thou 
seest plainly, Prexaspes, that it is not I who am 
mad, but the Persians who have lost their 
senses. I pray thee tell me, sawest thou ever 
mortal man send an arrow with a better aim?" 
Prexaspes, seeing that the king was not in his 
right mind, and fearing for himself, replied, 
"Oh! my lord, I do not think that God himself 
could shoot so dexterously." Such was the out- 
rage which Cambyses committed at this time: 
at another, he took twelve of the noblest Per- 
sians, and, without bringing any charge wor- 
thy of death against them, buried them all up 
to the neck. 

36. Hereupon Croesus the Lydian thought 
it right to admonish Cambyses, which he did 
in these words following: "Oh! king, allow 
not thyself to give way entirely to thy youth, 
and the heat of thy temper, but check and con- 
trol thyself. It is well to look to consequences, 
and in forethought is true wisdom. Thou lay- 
est hold of men, who are thy fellow-citizens, 
and, without cause of complaint, slayest them 
thou even puttest children to death bethink 
thee now, if thou shalt often do things like 
these, will not the Persians rise in revolt against 
thee? It is by thy father's wish that I offer thee 
advice; he charged me strictly to give thee 
such counsel as I might see to be most for thy 
good." In thus advising Cambyses, Croesus 
meant nothing but what was friendly. But 
Cambyses answered him, "Dost thou presume 
to offer me advice? Right well thou ruledst 
thy own country when thou wert a king, and 
right sage advice thou gavest my father Cyrus, 
bidding him cross the Araxes and fight the 
Massagetae in their own land, when they were 
willing to have passed over into ours. By thy 
misdirection of thine own affairs thou brought- 
est ruin upon thyself, and by thy bad counsel, 
which he followed, thou broughtest ruin upon 
Cyrus, my father. But thou shalt not escape 
punishment now, for I have long been seeking 
to find some occasion against thee." As he thus 
spoke, Cambyses took up his bow to shoot at 

Croesus; but Croesus ran hastily out, and es- 
caped. So when Cambyses found that he could 
not kill him with his bow, he bade his servants 
seize him, and put him to death. The servants, 
however, who knew their master's humour, 
thought it best to hide Croesus; that so, if Cam- 
byses relented, and asked for him, they might 
bring him out, and get a reward for having 
saved his life if, on the other hand, he did not 
relent, or regret the loss, they might then des- 
patch him. Not long afterwards, Cambyses did 
in fact regret the loss of Croesus, and the serv- 
ants, perceiving it, let him know that he was 
still alive. "I am glad," said he, "that Croesus 
lives, but as for you who saved him, ye shall 
not escape my vengeance, but shall all of you 
be put to death." And he did even as he had 

37. Many other wild outrages of this sort 
did Cambyses commit, both upon the Persians 
and the allies, while he still stayed at Memphis; 
among the rest he opened the ancient sepul- 
chres, and examined the bodies that were bur- 
ied in them. He likewise went into the temple 
of Vulcan, and made great sport of the image. 
For the image of Vulcan is very like the 
Pataeci of the Phoenicians, wherewith they orna- 
ment the prows of their ships of war. If per- 
sons have not seen these, I will explain in a 
different way it is a figure resembling that of 
a pigmy. He went also into the temple of the 
Cabiri, which it is unlawful for any one to en- 
ter except the priests, and not only made sport 
of the images, but even burnt them. They are 
made like the statue of Vulcan, who is said to 
have been their father. 

38. Thus it appears certain to me, by a great 
variety of proofs, that Cambyses was raving 
mad; he would not else have set himself to 
make a mock of holy rites and long-established 
usages. For if one were to offer men to choose 
out of all the customs in the world such as 
seemed to them the best, they would examine 
the whole number, and end by preferring their 
own; so convinced are they that their own us- 
ages far surpass those of all others. Unless, 
therefore, a man was mad, it is not likely that 
he would make sport of such matters. That 
people have this feeling about their laws may 
be seen by very many proofs: among others, by 
the following. Darius, after he had got the 
kingdom, called into his presence certain 
Greeks who were at hand, and asked "What 
he should pay them to eat the bodies of their 
fathers when they died?" To which they an- 
swered, that there was no sum that would 



[BOOK m 

tempt them to do such a thing. He then sent 
for certain Indians, of the race called Callati- 
ans, men who eat their fathers, and asked 
them, while the Greeks stood by, and knew 
by the help of an interpreter all that was said 
"What he should give them to burn the bod- 
ies of their fathers at their decease?" The In- 
dians exclaimed aloud, and bade him forbear 
such language. Such is men's wont herein; and 
Pindar was right, in my judgment, when he 
said, "Law is the king o'er all." 

39. While Cambyses was carrying on this 
war in Egypt, the Lacedaemonians likewise 
sent a force to Samos against Polycrates, the 
son of jEaces, who had by insurrection made 
himself master of that island. At the outset he 
divided the state into three parts, and shared 
the kingdom with his brothers, Pantagnotus 
and Syloson; but later, having killed the for- 
mer and banished the latter, who was the 
younger of the two, he held the whole island. 
Hereupon he made a contract of friendship 
with Amasis the Egyptian king, sending him 
gifts, and receiving from him others in return. 
In a little while his power so greatly increased, 
that the fame of it went abroad throughout Io- 
nia and the rest of Greece. Wherever he turned 
his arms, success waited on him. He had a fleet 
of a hundred penteconters, and bowmen to the 
number of a thousand. Herewith he plundered 
all, without distinction of friend or foe; for he 
argued that a friend was better pleased if you 
gave him back what you had taken from him, 
than if you spared him at the first. He cap- 
tured many of the islands, and several towns 
upon the mainland. Among his other doings 
he overcame the Lesbians in a sea-fight, when 
they came with all their forces to the help of 
Miletus, and made a number of them prison- 
ers. These persons, laden with fetters, dug the 
moat which surrounds the castle at Samos. 

40. The exceeding good fortune of Poly- 
crates did not escape the notice of Amasis, who 
was much disturbed thereat. When therefore 
his successes continued increasing, Amasis 
wrote him the following letter, and sent it to 
Samos. "Amasis to Polycrates thus sayeth: It 
is a pleasure to hear of a friend and ally pros- 
pering, but thy exceeding prosperity does not 
cause me joy, forasmuch as I know that the gods 
are envious. My wish for myself and for those 
whom I love is to be now successful, and now 
to meet with a check; thus passing through life 
amid alternate good and ill, rather than with 
perpetual good fortune. For never yet did I 
hear tell of any one succeeding in all his under- 

takings, who did not meet with calamity at 
last, and come to utter ruin. Now, therefore, 
give ear to my words, and meet thy good luck 
in this way: bethink thee which of all thy treas- 
ures thou valuest most and canst least bear to 
part with; take it, whatsoever it be, and throw 
it away, so that it may be sure never to come 
any more into the sight of man. Then, if thy 
good fortune be not thenceforth chequered 
with ill, save thyself from harm by again doing 
as I have counselled." 

41. When Polycrates read this letter, and 
perceived that the advice of Amasis was good, 
he considered carefully with himself which of 
the treasures that he had in store it would 
grieve him most to lose. After much thought 
he made up his mind that it was a signet-ring 
which he was wont to wear, an emerald set in 
gold, the workmanship of Theodore, son of 
Telecles, a Samian. So he determined to throw 
this away; and, manning a penteconter, he 
went on board, and bade the sailors put out 
into the open sea. When he was now a long 
way from the island, he took the ring from his 
finger, and, in the sight of all those who were 
on board, flung it into the deep. This done, he 
returned home, and gave vent to his sorrow. 

42. Now it happened five or six days after- 
wards that a fisherman caught a fish so large 
and beautiful that he thought it well deserved 
to be made a present of to the king. So he took 
it with him to the gate of the palace, and said 
that he wanted to see Polycrates. Then Poly- 
crates allowed him to come in, and the fisher- 
man gave him the fish with these words fol- 
lowing "Sir king, when I took this prize, I 
thought I would not carry it to market, though 
I am a poor man who live by my trade. I said 
to myself, it is worthy of Polycrates and his 
greatness; and so I brought it here to give it to 
you." The speech pleased the king, who thus 
spoke in reply: "Thou didst right well, 
friend, and I am doubly indebted, both for the 
gift, and for the speech. Come now, and sup 
with me." So the fisherman went home, es- 
teeming it a high honour that he had been 
asked to sup with the king. Meanwhile the 
servants, on cutting open the fish, found the 
signet of their master in its belly. No sooner 
did they see it than they seized upon it, and 
hastening to Polycrates with great joy, restored 
it to him, and told him in what way it had 
been found. The king, who saw something 
providential in the matter, forthwith wrote a 
letter to Amasis, telling him all that had hap- 
pened, what he had himself done, and what 


had been the upshot and despatched the let- 
ter to Egypt. 

43. When Amasis had read the letter of 
Polycrates, he perceived that it does not belong 
to man to save his fellow-man from the fate 
which is in store for him; likewise he felt cer- 
tain that Polycrates would end ill, as he pros- 
pered in everything, even finding what he had 
thrown away. So he sent a herald to Samos, 
and dissolved the contract of friendship. This 
he did, that when the great and heavy mis- 
fortune came, he might escape the grief which 
he would have felt if the sufferer had been his 

44. It was with this Polycrates, so fortunate 
in every undertaking, that the Lacedaemonians 
now went to war. Certain Samians, the same 
who afterwards founded the city of Cydonia 
in Crete, had earnestly intreated their help. 
For Polycrates, at the time when Cambyses, 
son of Cyrus, was gathering together an arma- 
ment against Egypt, had sent to beg him not 
to omit to ask aid from Samos; whereupon 
Cambyses with much readiness despatched a 
messenger to the island, and made request that 
Polycrates would give some ships to the naval 
force which he was collecting against Egypt. 
Polycrates straightway picked out from among 
the citizens such as he thought most likely to 
stir revolt against him, and manned with them 
forty triremes, which he sent to Cambyses, bid- 
ding him keep the men safe, and never allow 
them to return home. 

45. Now some accounts say that these Sa- 
mians did not reach Egypt; for that when they 
were off Carpathus, they took counsel together 
and resolved to sail no further. But others 
maintain that they did go to Egypt, and, find- 
ing themselves watched, deserted, and sailed 
back to Samos. There Polycrates went out 
against them with his fleet, and a battle was 
fought and gained by the exiles; after which 
they disembarked upon the island and engaged 
the land forces of Polycrates, but were defeated, 
and so sailed off to Lacedxmon. Some relate 
that the Samians from Egypt overcame Poly- 
crates, but it seems to me untruly; for had the 
Samians been strong enough to conquer Poly- 
crates by themselves, they would not have 
needed to call in the aid of the Lacedaemo- 
nians. And moreover, it is not likely that a 
king who had in his pay so large a body of for- 
eign mercenaries, and maintained likewise 
such a force of native bowmen, would have 
been worsted by an army so small as that of the 
returned Samians. As for his own subjects, to 



hinder them from betraying him and joining 
the exiles, Polycrates shut up their wives and 
children in the sheds built to shelter his ships, 
and was ready to burn sheds and all in case of 

46. When the banished Samians reached 
Sparta, they had audience of the magistrates, 
before whom they made a long speech, as was 
natural with persons greatly in want of aid. 
Accordingly at this first sitting the Spartans 
answered them that they had forgotten the 
first half of their speech, and could make noth- 
ing of the remainder. Afterwards the Samians 
had another audience, whereat they simply 
said, showing a bag which they had brought 
with them, "The bag wants flour." The Spar- 
tans answered that they did not need to have 
said "the bag"; however, they resolved to give 
them aid. 

47. Then the Lacedaemonians made ready 
and set forth to the attack of Samos, from a 
motive of gratitude, if we may believe the 
Samians, because the Samians had once sent 
ships to their aid against the Messenians; but 
as the Spartans themselves say, not so much 
from any wish to assist the Samians who beg- 
ged their help, as from a desire to punish the 
people who had seized the bowl which they 
sent to Croesus, and the corselet which Amasis, 
king of Egypt, sent as a present to them. The 
Samians made prize of this corselet the year 
before they took the bowl it was of linen, and 
had a vast number of figures of animals in- 
woven into its fabric, and was likewise em- 
broidered with gold and tree-wool. What is 
most worthy of admiration in it is that each 
of the twists, although of fine texture, contains 
within it three hundred and sixty threads, all 
of them clearly visible. The corselet which Am- 
asis gave to the temple of Minerva in Lindus 
is just such another. 

48. The Corinthians likewise right willing- 
ly lent a helping hand towards the expedition 
against Samos; for a generation earlier, about 
the time of the seizure of the wine-bowl, they 
too had suffered insult at the hands of the Sa- 
mians. It happened that Periander, son of 
Cypselus, had taken three hundred boys, chil- 
dren of the chief nobles among the Cor- 
cyraeans, and sent them to Alyattes for eu- 
nuchs; the men who had them in charge 
touched at Samos on their way to Sardis; 
whereupon the Samians, having found out 
what was to become of the boys when they 
reached that city, first prompted them to take 
sanctuary at the temple of Diana; and after 



this, when the Corinthians, as they were for- 
bidden to tear the suppliants from the holy 
place, sought to cut oft from them all supplies 
of food, invented a festival in their behalf, 
which they celebrate to this day with the self- 
same rites. Each evening, as night closed in, 
during the whole time that the boys continued 
there, choirs of youths and virgins were placed 
about the temple, carrying in their hands cakes 
made of sesame and honey, in order that the 
Corcyraean boys might snatch the cakes, and so 
get enough to live upon. 

49. And this went on for so long, that at last 
the Corinthians who had charge of the boys 
gave them up, and took their departure, upon 
which the Samians conveyed them back to 
Corcyra. If now, after the death of Periander, 
the Corinthians and Corcyracans had been good 
friends, it is not to be imagined that the former 
would ever have taken part in the expedition 
against Samos for such a reason as this; but as, 
in fact, the two people have always, ever since 
the first settlement of the island, been enemies 
to one another, this outrage was remembered, 
and the Corinthians bore the Samians a grudge 
for it. Periander had chosen the youths from 
among the first families in Corcyra, and sent 
them a present to Alyattes, to avenge a wrong 
which he had received. For it was the Cor- 
cyraeans who began the quarrel and injured 
Periander by an outrage of a horrid nature. 

50. After Periander had put to death his 
wife Melissa, it chanced that on this first afflic- 
tion a second followed of a different kind. His 
wife had borne him two sons, and one of them 
had now reached the age of seventeen, the 
other of eighteen years, when their mother's 
father, Procles, tyrant of Epidaurus, asked 
them to his court. They went, and Procles 
treated them with much kindness, as was nat- 
ural, considering they were his own daughter's 
children. At length, when the time for parting 
came, Procles, as he was sending them on their 
way, said, "Know you now, my children, who 
it was that caused your mother's death?" The 
elder son took no account of this speech, but 
the younger, whose name was Lycophron, was 
sorely troubled at it so much so, that when he 
got back to Corinth, looking upon his father 
as his mother's murderer, he would neither 
speak to him, nor answer when spoken to, nor 
utter a word in reply to all his questionings. So 
Periander at last, growing furious at such be- 
haviour, banished him from his house. 

51. The younger son gone, he turned to the 
elder and asked him, "what it was that their 

[BooK in 

grandfather had said to them?" Then he re- 
lated in how kind and friendly a fashion he 
had received them; but, not having taken any 
notice of the speech which Procles had uttered 
at parting, he quite forgot to mention it. Peri- 
ander insisted that it was not possible this 
should be all their grandfather must have 
given them some hint or other and he went 
on pressing him, till at last the lad remembered 
the parting speech and told it. Periander, after 
he had turned the whole matter over in his 
thoughts, and felt unwilling to give way at all, 
sent a messenger to the persons who had 
opened their houses to his outcast son, and for- 
bade them to harbour him. Then the boy, when 
he was chased from one friend, sought refuge 
with another, but was driven from shelter to 
shelter by the threats of his father, who men- 
aced all those that took him in, and command- 
ed them to shut their doors against him. Still, as 
fast as he was forced to leave one house he went 
to another, and was received by the inmates; for 
his acquaintance, although in no small alarm, 
yet gave him shelter, as he was Periander's son. 
52. At last Periander made proclamation 
that whoever harboured his son or even spoke 
to him, should forfeit a certain sum of money 
to Apollo. On hearing this no one any longer 
liked to take him in, or even to hold converse 
with him, and he himself did not think it right 
to seek to do what was forbidden; so, abiding 
by his resolve, he made his lodging in the pub- 
lic porticos. When four days had passed in this 
way, Periander, seeing how wretched his son 
was, that he neither washed nor took any food, 
felt moved with compassion towards him; 
wherefore, foregoing his anger, he approached 
him, and said, " Which is better, oh' my son, to 
fare as now thou farest, or to receive my crown 
and all the good things that I possess, on the 
one condition of submitting thyself to thy fa- 
ther? See, now, though my own child, and 
lord of this wealthy Corinth, thou hast brought 
thyself to a beggar's life, because thou must re- 
sist and treat with anger him whom it least be- 
hoves thee to oppose. If there has been a calam- 
ity, and thou bearest me ill will on that ac- 
count, bethink thee that I too feel it, and am 
the greatest sufferer, in as much as it was by 
me that the deed was done. For thyself, now 
that thou knowest how much better a thing it 
is to be envied than pitied, and how dangerous 
it is to indulge anger against parents and su- 
periors, come back with me to thy home." 
With such words as these did Periander chide 
his son; but the son made no reply, except to re- 




mind his father that he was indebted to the 
god in the penalty for coming and holding con- 
verse with him. Then Periander knew that 
there was no cure for the youth's malady, nor 
means of overcoming it; so he prepared a ship 
and sent him away out of his sight to Corcyra, 
which island at that time belonged to him. As 
for Procles, Periander, regarding him as the 
true author of all his present troubles, went to 
war with him as soon as his son was gone, and 
not only made himself master of his kingdom 
Epidaurus, but also took Procles himself, and 
carried him into captivity. 

53. As time went on, and Periander came to 
be old, he found himself no longer equal to the 
oversight and management of affairs. Seeing, 
therefore, in his eldest son no manner of abil- 
ity, but knowing him to be dull and blockish, 
he sent to Corcyra and recalled Lycophron to 
take the kingdom. Lycophron, however, did 
not even deign to ask the bearer of this mes- 
sage a question. But Periander's heart was set 
upon the youth, so he sent again to him, this 
time by his own daughter, the sister of Lyco- 
phron, who would, he thought, have more 
power to persuade him than any other person. 
Then she, when she reached Corcyra, spoke 
thus with her brother: "Dost thou wish the 
kingdom, brother, to pass into strange hands, 
and our father's wealth to be made a prey, 
rather than thyself return to enjoy it? Come 
back home with me, and cease to punish thy- 
self. It is scant gain, this obstinacy. Why seek 
to cure evil by evil? Mercy, remember, is by 
many set above justice. Many, also, while push- 
ing their mother's claims have forfeited their 
father's fortune. Power is a slippery thing it 
has many suitors; and he is old and stricken in 
years let not thy own inheritance go to anoth- 
er." Thus did the sister, who had been tutored 
by Periander what to say, urge all the argu- 
ments most likely to have weight with her 
brother. He however made answer, "That so 
long as he knew his father to be still alive, he 
would never go back to Corinth." When the 
sister brought Periander this reply, he sent to his 
son a third time by a herald, and said he would 
come himself to Corcyra, and let his son take 
his place at Corinth as heir to his kingdom. To 
these terms Lycophron agreed; and Periander 
was making ready to pass into Corcyra and his 
son to return to Corinth, when the Corcyrae- 
ans, being informed of what was taking place, 
to keep Periander away, put the young man to 
death. For this reason it was that Periander 
took vengeance on the Corcyraeans. 

54. The Lacedaemonians arrived before Sa- 
mos with a mighty armament, and forthwith 
laid siege to the place. In one of the assaults 
upon the walls, they forced their way to the top 
of the tower which stands by the sea on the side 
where the suburb is, but Polycrates came in 
person to the rescue with a strong force, and 
beat them back. Meanwhile at the upper tower, 
which stood on the ridge of the hill, the be- 
sieged, both mercenaries and Samians, made a 
sally; but after they had withstood the Lace- 
daemonians a short time, they fled backwards, 
and the Lacedaemonians, pressing upon them, 
slew numbers. 

55. If now all who were present had be- 
haved that day like Archias and Lycopas, two 
of the Lacedaemonians, Samos might have been 
taken. For these two heroes, following hard 
upon the flying Samians, entered the city along 
with them, and, being all alone, and their re- 
treat cut off, were slain within the walls of the 
place. I myself once fell in with the grandson of 
this Archias, a man named Archias like his 
grandsire, and the son of Samius, whom I met 
at Pitana, to which canton he belonged. He re- 
spected the Samians beyond all other foreign- 
ers, and he told me that his father was called 
Samius, because his grandfather Archias died 
in Samos so gloriously, and that the reason why 
he respected the Samians so greatly was that 
his grandsire was buried with public honours 
by the Samian people. 

56. The Lacedaemonians besieged Samos 
during forty days, but not making any progress 
before the place, they raised the siege at the 
end of that time, and returned home to the 
Peloponnese. There is a silly tale told that Poly- 
crates struck a quantity of the coin of his 
country in lead, and, coating it with gold, gave 
it to the Lacedaemonians, who on receiving it 
took their departure. 

This was the first expedition into Asia of the 
Lacedemonian Dorians. 

57. The Samians who had fought against 
Polycrates, when they knew that the Lacedae- 
monians were about to forsake them, left Sa- 
mos themselves, and sailed to Siphnos. They 
happened to be in want of money; and the 
Siphnians at that time were at the height of 
their greatness, no islanders having so much 
wealth as they. There were mines of gold and 
silver in their country, and of so rich a yield, 
that from a tithe of the ores the Siphnians 
furnished out a treasury at Delphi which was 
on a par with the grandest there. What the 
mines yielded was divided year by year among 



[BOOK in 

the citizens. At the time when they formed the 
treasury, the Siphnians consulted the oracle, 
and asked whether their good things would re- 
main to them many years. The Pythoness made 
answer as follows: 

When the Prytanies* seat shines white in the island 
of Stphnos, 

White-browed all the jorum need then of a true 
seer's wisdom 

Danger will threat from a wooden host, and a her- 
ald in scarlet. 

Now about this time the forum of the Siph- 
nians and their townhall or prytaneum had 
been adorned with Parian marble. 

58. The Siphnians, however, were unable 
to understand the oracle, either at the time 
when it was given, or afterwards on the ar- 
rival of the Samians. For these last no sooner 
came to anchor off the island than they sent 
one of their vessels, with an ambassage on 
board, to the city. All ships in these early times 
were painted with vermilion; and this was 
what the Pythoness had meant when she told 
them to beware of danger "from a wooden 
host, and a herald in scarlet." So the ambas- 
sadors came ashore and besought the Siphnians 
to lend them ten talents; but the Siphnians re- 
fused, whereupon the Samians began to plun- 
der their lands. Tidings of this reached the 
Siphnians, who straightway sallied forth to 
save their crops; then a battle was fought, in 
which the Siphnians suffered defeat, and many 
of their number were cut off from the city by 
the Samians, after which these latter forced the 
Siphnians to give them a hundred talents. 

59. With this money they bought of the 
Hermionians the island of Hydrea, off the 
coast of the Peloponnese, and this they gave 
in trust to the Troezenians, to keep for them, 
while they themselves went on to Crete, and 
founded the city of Cydonia. They had not 
meant, when they set sail, to settle there, but 
only to drive out the Zacynthians from the is- 
land. However they rested at Cydonia, where 
they flourished greatly for five years. It was 
they who built the various temples that may 
still be seen at that place, and among them the 
fane of Dictyna. But in the sixth year they 
were attacked by the Eginetans, who beat 
them in a sea-fight, and, with the help of the 
Cretans, reduced them all to slavery. The beaks 
of their ships, which carried the figure of a 
wild boar, they sawed off, and laid them up in 
the temple of Minerva in Egina. The Egine- 
tans took part against the Samians on account 
of an ancient grudge, since the Samians had 

first, when Amphicrates was king of Samos, 
made war on them and done great harm to 
their island, suffering, however, much damage 
also themselves. Such was the reason which 
moved the Eginetans to make this attack. 

60. I have dwelt the longer on the affairs of 
the Samians, because three of the greatest 
works in all Greece were made by them. One 
is a tunnel, under a hill one hundred and fifty 
fathoms high, carried entirely through the base 
of the hill, with a mouth at either end. The 
length ot the cutting is seven furlongs the 
height and width are each eight feet. Along the 
whole course there is a second cutting, twenty 
cubits deep and three feet broad, whereby 
water is brought, through pipes, from an 
abundant source into the city. The architect of 
this tunnel was Eupalinus, son of Naustroph- 
us, a Megarian. Such is the first of their great 
works; the second is a mole in the sea, which 
goes all round the harbour, near twenty fath- 
oms deep, and in length above two furlongs. 
The third is a temple; the largest of all the 
temples known to us, whereof Rhcecus, son 
of Phileus, a Samian, was first architect. Be- 
cause of these works I have dwelt the longer 
on the affairs of Samos. 

6r. While Cambyscs, son of Cyrus, after los- 
ing his senses, still lingered in Egypt, two 
Magi, brothers, revolted against him. One of 
them had been left in Persia by Cambyses as 
comptroller of his household; and it was he 
who began the revolt. Aware that Smerdis 
was dead, and that his death was hid and 
known to few of the Persians, while most be- 
lieved that he was still alive, he laid his plan, 
and made a bold stroke for the crown. He had 
a brother the same of whom I spoke before 
as his partner in the revolt who happened 
greatly to resemble Smerdis the son of Cyrus, 
whom Cambyses his brother had put to death. 
And not only was this brother of his like 
Smerdis in person, but he also bore the self- 
same name, to wit Smerdis. Patizeithes, the 
other Magus, having persuaded him that he 
would carry the whole business through, took 
him and made him sit upon the royal throne. 
Having so done, he sent heralds through all the 
land, to Egypt and elsewhere, to make proc- 
lamation to the troops that henceforth they 
were to obey Smerdis the son of Cyrus, and not 

62. The other heralds therefore made proc- 
lamation as they were ordered, and likewise 
the herald whose place it was to proceed into 
Egypt. He, when he reached Agbatana in 




Syria, finding Cambyses and his army there, 
went straight into the middle of the host, and 
standing forth before them all, made the proc- 
lamation which Patizeithes the Magus had 
commanded. Cambyses no sooner heard him, 
than believing that what the herald said was 
true, and imagining that he had been betrayed 
by Prexaspes (who, he supposed, had not put 
Smerdis to death when sent into Persia for that 
purpose), he turned his eyes full upon Prex- 
aspes, and said, "Is this the way, Prexaspes, 
that thou didst my errand?" "Oh! my liege,** 
answered the other, "there is no truth in the 
tidings that Smerdis thy brother has revolted 
against thee, nor hast thou to fear in time to 
come any quarrel, great or small, with that 
man. With my own hands I wrought thy will 
on him, and with my own hands I buried him. 
[f of a truth the dead can leave their graves, 
expect Astyages the Mede to rise and fight 
against thee; but if the course of nature be the 
same as formerly, then be sure no ill will ever 
come upon thee from this quarter. Now, there- 
fore, my counsel is that we send in pursuit of 
the herald, and strictly question him who it 
was that charged him to bid us obey king 

63. When Prexaspes had so spoken, and 
Cambyses had approved his words, the herald 
was forthwith pursued, and brought back to 
the king. Then Prexaspes said to him, "Sirrah, 
thou bear'st us a message, sayst thou, from 
Smerdis, son of Cyrus. Now answer truly, and 
go thy way scathless. Did Smerdis have thee to 
his presence and give thee thy orders, or hadst 
thou them from one of his officers?** The her- 
ald answered, "Truly I have not set eyes on 
Smerdis son of Cyrus, since the day when king 
Cambyses led the Persians into Egypt. The 
man who gave me my orders was the Magus 
that Cambyses left in charge of the household; 
but he said that Smerdis son of Cyrus sent you 
the message." In all this the herald spoke noth- 
ing but the strict truth. Then Cambyses said 
thus to Prexaspes: "Thou art free from all 
blame, Prexaspes, since, as a right good man, 
thou hast not failed to do the thing which I 
:ommanded. But tell me now, which of the 
Persians can have taken the name of Smerdis, 
ind revolted from me?** "I think, my liege,** 
tie answered, "that I apprehend the whole busi- 
ness. The men who have risen in revolt 
against thee are the two Magi, Patizeithes, 
who was left comptroller of thy household, and 
bis brother, who is named Smerdis.** 

64. Cambyses no sooner heard the name of 

Smerdis than he was struck with the truth of 
Prexaspes' words, and the fulfilment of his 
own dream the dream, I mean, which he had 
in former days, when one appeared to him in 
his sleep and told him that Smerdis sate upon 
the royal throne, and with his head touched 
the heavens. So when he saw that he had need- 
lessly slain his brother Smerdis, he wept and 
bewailed his loss: after which, smarting with 
vexation as he thought of all his ill luck, he 
sprang hastily upon his steed, meaning to 
march his army with all haste to Susa against 
the Magus. As he made his spring, the button 
of his sword-sheath fell off, and the bared point 
entered his thigh, wounding him exactly 
where he had himself once wounded the Egyp- 
tian god Apis. Then Cambyses, feeling that he 
had got his death-wound, inquired the name of 
the place where he was, and was answered, 
"Agbatana." Now before this it had been told 
him by the oracle at Buto that he should end 
his days at Agbatana. He, however, had under- 
stood the Median Agbatana, where all his 
treasures were, and had thought that he should 
die there in a good old age; but the oracle 
meant Agbatana in Syria. So when Cambyses 
heard the name of the place, the double shock 
that he had received, from the revolt of the 
Magus and from his wound, brought him back 
to his senses. And he understood now the true 
meaning of the oracle, and said, "Here then 
Cambyses, son of Cyrus, is doomed to die.** 

65. At this time he said no more; but twenty 
days afterwards he called to his presence all the 
chief Persians who were with the army, and 
addressed them as follows: "Persians, needs 
must I tell you now what hitherto I have striv- 
en with the greatest care to keep concealed. 
When I was in Egypt I saw in my sleep a vi- 
sion, which would that I had never beheld! I 
thought a messenger came to me from my 
home, and told me that Smerdis sate upon the 
royal throne, and with his head touched the 
heavens. Then I feared to be cast from my 
throne by Smerdis my brother, and I did what 
was more hasty than wise. Ah! truly, do what 
they may, it is impossible for men to turn aside 
the coming fate. I, in my folly, sent Prexaspes 
to Susa to put my brother to death. So this 
great woe was accomplished, and I then lived 
without fear, never imagining that, after Smer- 
dis was dead, I need dread revolt from any 
other. But herein I had quite mistaken what 
was about to happen, and so I slew my brother 
without any need, and nevertheless have lost 
my crown. For it was Smerdis the Magus, and 



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not Smerdis my brother, of whose rebellion 
God forewarned me by the vision. The deed is 
done, however, and Smerdis, son of Cyrus, be 
sure is lost to you. The Magi have the royal 
power Patizeithes, whom I left at Susa to 
overlook my household, and Smerdis his broth- 
er. There was one who would have been 
bound beyond ail others to avenge the wrongs 
I have suffered from these Magians, but he, 
alasl has perished by a horrid fate, deprived of 
life by those nearest and dearest to him. In his 
default, nothing now remains for me but to 
tell you, O Persians, what I would wish to have 
done after I have breathed my last. Therefore, 
in the name of the gods that watch over our 
royal house, I charge you all, and specially such 
of you as are Achaemenids, that ye do not tame- 
ly allow the kingdom to go back to the Medes. 
Recover it one way or another, by force or 
fraud; by fraud, if it is by fraud that they have 
seized on it; by force, if force has helped them 
in their enterprise. Do this, and then may your 
land bring you forth fruit abundantly, and 
your wives bear children, and your herds in- 
crease, and freedom be your portion for ever: 
but do it not make no brave struggle to re- 
gain the kingdom and then my curse be on 
you, and may the opposite of all these things 
happen to you and not only so, but may you, 
one and all, perish at the last by such a fate as 
mine!" Then Cambyses, when he left speak- 
ing, bewailed his whole misfortune from be- 
ginning to end. 

66. Whereupon the Persians, seeing their 
king weep, rent the garments that they had on, 
and uttered lamentable cries; after which, as 
the bone presently grew carious, and the limb 
gangrened, Cambyses, son of Cyrus, died. He 
had reigned in all seven years and five months, 
and left no issue behind him, male or female. 
The Persians who had heard his words, put no 
faith in anything that he said concerning the 
Magi having the royal power; but believed that 
he spoke out of hatred towards Smerdis, and 
had invented the tale of his death to cause the 
whole Persian race to rise up in arms against 
him. Thus they were convinced that it was 
Smerdis the son of Cyrus who had rebelled and 
now sate on the throne. For Prexaspes stoutly 
denied that he had slain Smerdis, since it was 
not safe for him, after Cambyses was dead, to 
allow that a son of Cyrus had met with death 
at his hands. 

67, Thus then Cambyses died, and the 
Magus now reigned in security, and passed 
himself off for Smerdis the son of Cyrus. And 

so went by the seven months which were 
wanting to complete the eighth year of Cam- 
byses. His subjects, while his reign lasted, re- 
ceived great benefits from him, insomuch that, 
when he died, all the dwellers in Asia 
mourned his loss exceedingly, except only the 
Persians. For no sooner did he come to the 
throne than forthwith he sent round to every 
nation under his rule, and granted them free- 
dom from war-service and from taxes for the 
space of three years. 

68. In the eighth month, however, it was 
discovered who he was in the mode following. 
There was a man called Otanes, the son of 
Pharnaspes, who for rank and wealth was 
equal to the greatest of the Persians. This 
Otanes was the first to suspect that the Magus 
was not Smerdis the son of Cyrus, and to sur- 
mise moreover who he really was. He was led 
to guess the truth by the king never quitting 
the citadel, and never calling before him any 
of the Persian noblemen. As soon, therefore, as 
his suspicions were aroused he adopted the fol- 
lowing measures: One of his daughters, who 
was called Phaedima, had been married to Cam- 
byses, and was taken to wife, together with the 
rest of Cambyses' wives, by the Magus. To this 
daughter Otanes sent a message, and inquired 
of her "who it was whose bed she shared, 
was it Smerdis the son of Cyrus, or was it 
some other man?" Phaedima in reply declared 
she did not know Smerdis the son of Cyrus 
she had never seen, and so she could not tell 
whose bed she shared. Upon this Otanes sent 
a second time, and said, "If thou dost not 
know Smerdis son of Cyrus thyself, ask queen 
Atossa who it is with whom ye both live she 
cannot fail to know her own brother." To this 
the daughter made answer, "I can neither get 
speech with Atossa, nor with any of the women 
who lodge in the palace. For no sooner did this 
man, be he who he may, obtain the kingdom, 
than he parted us from one another, and gave 
us all separate chambers." 

69. This made the matter seem still more 
plain to Otanes. Nevertheless he sent a third 
message to his daughter in these words follow- 
ing: "Daughter, thou art of noble blood 
thou wilt not shrink from a risk which thy 
father bids thee encounter. If this fellow be 
not Smerdis the son of Cyrus, but the man 
whom I think him to be, his boldness in tak- 
ing thee to be his wife, and lording it over the 
Persians, must not be allowed to pass unpun- 
ished. Now therefore do as I command when 
next he passes the night with thee, wait till 




thou art sure he is fast asleep, and then feel for 
his ears. If thou findest him to have ears, then 
believe him to be Smerdis the son of Cyrus, but 
if he has none, know him for Smerdis the 
Magian." Phaedima returned for answer, "It 
would be a great risk. If he was without ears, 
and caught her feeling for them, she well knew 
he would make away with her nevertheless 
she would venture." So Otanes got his daugh- 
ter's promise that she would do as he desired. 
Now Smerdis the Magian had had his ears cut 
off in the lifetime of Cyrus son of Cambyses, as 
a punishment for a crime of no slight heinous- 
ness. Phaedima therefore, Otanes' daughter, 
bent on accomplishing what she had promised 
her father, when her turn came, and she was 
taken to the bed of the Magus (in Persia a 
man's wives sleep with him in their turns), 
waited till he was sound asleep, and then felt 
for his ears. She quickly perceived that he had 
no ears; and of this, as soon as day dawned, she 
sent word to her father. 

70. Then Otanes took to him two of the 
chief Persians, Aspathmes and Gobryas, men 
whom it was most advisable to trust in such a 
matter, and told them everything. Now they 
had already of themselves suspected how the 
matter stood. When Otanes therefore laid his 
reasons before them they at once came into his 
views; and it was agreed that each of the three 
should take as companion in the work the 
Persian in whom he placed the greatest con- 
fidence. Then Otanes chose Intaphernes, Go- 
bryas Megabyzus, and Aspathmes Hydarnes. 
After the number had thus become six, Darius, 
the son of Hystaspes, arrived at Susa from Per- 
sia, whereof his father was governor. On his 
coming it seemed good to the six to take him 
likewise into their counsels. 

71. After this, the men, being now seven in 
all, met together to exchange oaths, and hold 
discourse with one another. And when it 
came to the turn of Darius to speak his mind, 
he said as follows: "Methought no one but I 
knew that Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, was not 
now alive, and that Smerdis the Magian ruled 
over us; on this account I came hither with 
speed, to compass the death of the Magian. 
But as it seems the matter is known to you all, 
and not to me only, my judgment is that we 
should act at once, and not any longer delay. 
For to do so were not well." Otanes spoke upon 
this: "Son of Hystaspes," said he, "thou art 
the child of a brave father, and seemest likely 
to show thyself as bold a gallant as he. Beware, 
however, of rash haste in this matter; do not 

hurry so, but proceed with soberness. We must 
add to our number ere we adventure to strike 
the blow." "Not so," Darius rejoined; "for let 
all present be well assured that if the advice of 
Otanes guide our acts, we shall perish most 
miserably. Some one will betray our plot to the 
Magians for lucre's sake. Ye ought to have 
kept the matter to yourselves, and so made the 
venture; but as ye have chosen to take others 
into your secret, and have opened the matter to 
me, take my advice and make the attempt to- 
day or if not, if a single day be suffered to 
pass by, be sure that I will let no one betray me 
to the Magian. I myself will go to him, and 
plainly denounce you all." 

72. Otanes, when he saw Darius so hot, re- 
plied, "But if thou wilt force us to action, and 
not allow a day's delay, tell us, I pray thee, hpw 
we shall get entrance into the palace, so as to 
set upon them. Guards are placed everywhere, 
as thou thyself well knowest for if thou hast 
not seen, at least thou hast heard tell of them. 
How are we to pass these guards, I ask thee?" 
"Otanes," answered Darius, "there are many 
things easy enough in act, which by speech it 
is hard to explain. There are also things con- 
cerning which speech is easy, but no noble ac- 
tion follows when the speech is done. As for 
these guards, ye know well that we shall not 
find it hard to make our way through them. 
Our rank alone would cause them to allow us 
to enter shame and fear alike forbidding 
them to say us nay. But besides, I have the fair- 
est plea that can be conceived for gaining ad- 
mission. I can say that I have just come from 
Persia, and have a message to deliver to the 
king from my father. An untruth must be 
spoken, where need requires. For whether men 
lie, or say true, it is with one and the same ob- 
ject. Men lie, because they think to gain by 
deceiving others; and speak the truth, because 
they expect to get something by their true 
speaking, and to be trusted afterwards in more 
important matters. Thus, though their conduct 
is so opposite, the end of both is alike. If there 
were no gain to be got, your true-speaking man 
would tell untruths as much as your liar, and 
your liar would tell the truth as much as your 
true-speaking man. The doorkeeper, who lets 
us in readily, shall have his guerdon some day 
or other; but woe to the man who resists us, 
he must forthwith be declared an enemy. Forc- 
ing our way past him, we will press in and go 
straight to our work." 

73. After Darius had thus said, Gobryas 
spoke as follows: "Dear friends, when will 



[BOOK in 

a fitter occasion offer for us to recover the king- 
dom, or, if we are not strong enough, at least 
die in the attempt? Consider that we Persians 
are governed by a Median Magus, and one, too, 
who has had his ears cut off! Some of you were 
present when Cambyses lay upon his death- 
bed such, doubtless, remember what curses 
he called down upon the Persians if they made 
no effort to recover the kingdom. Then, in- 
deed, we paid but little heed to what he said, 
because we thought he spoke out of hatred to 
set us against his brother. Now, however, my 
vote is that we do as Darius has counselled 
march straight in a body to the palace from the 
place where we now are, and forthwith set 
upon the Magian." So Gobryas spake, and the 
others all approved. 

74. While the seven were thus taking coun- 
sel together, it so chanced that the following 
events were happening: The Magi had been 
thinking what they had best do, and had re- 
solved for many reasons to make a friend of 
Prexaspes. They knew how cruelly he had 
been outraged by Cambyses, who slew his son 
with an arrow; they were also aware that it 
was by his hand that Smerdis the son of Cyrus 
fell, and that he was the only person privy to 
that prince's death; and they further found 
him to be held in the highest esteem by all the 
Persians. So they called him to them, made 
him their friend, and bound him by a promise 
and by oaths to keep silence about the fraud 
which they were practising upon the Persians, 
and not discover it to any one; and they 
pledged themselves that in this case they would 
give him thousands of gifts of every sort and 
kind. So Prexaspes agreed, and the Magi, when 
they found that they had persuaded him so 
far, went on to another proposal, and said they 
would assemble the Persians at the foot of the 
palace wall, and he should mount one of the 
towers and harangue them from it, assuring 
them that Smerdis the son of Cyrus, and none 
but he, ruled the land. This they bade him do, 
because Prexaspes was a man of great weight 
with his countrymen, and had often declared 
in public that Smerdis the son of Cyrus was 
still alive, and denied being his murderer. 

75. Prexaspes said he was quite ready to do 
their will in the matter; so the Magi assembled 
the people, and placed Prexaspes upon the top 
of the tower, and told him to make his speech. 
Then this man, forgetting of set purpose all 
that the Magi had intreated him to say, began 
with Achaemenes, and traced down the descent 
of Cyrus; after which, when he came to that 

king, he recounted all the services that had 
been rendered by him to the Persians, from 
whence he went on to declare the truth, which 
hitherto he had concealed, he said, because it 
would not have been safe for him to make it 
known, but now necessity was laid on him to 
disclose the whole. Then he told how, forced 
to it by Cambyses, he had himself taken the life 
of Smerdis, son of Cyrus, and how that Persia 
was now ruled by the Magi. Last of all, with 
many curses upon the Persians if they did not 
recover the kingdom, and wreak vengeance on 
the Magi, he threw himself headlong from the 
tower into the abyss below. Such was the end 
of Prexaspes, a man all his life of high repute 
among the Persians. 

76. And now the seven Persians, having re- 
solved that they would attack the Magi with- 
out more delay, first offered prayers to the gods 
and then set off for the palace, quite unac- 
quainted with what had been done by Prexas- 
pes. The news of his doings reached them 
upon their way, when they had accomplished 
about half the distance. Hereupon they turned 
aside out of the road, and consulted together. 
Otanes and his party said they must certainly 
put off the business, and not make the attack 
when affairs were in such a ferment. Darius, 
on the other hand, and his friends, were 
against any change of plan, and wished to go 
straight on, and not lose a moment. Now, as 
they strove together, suddenly there came 
in sight two pairs of vultures, and seven 
pairs of hawks, pursuing them, and the hawks 
tore the vultures both with their claws and 
bills. At this sight the seven with one accord 
came in to the opinion of Darius, and encour- 
aged by the omen hastened on towards the 

77. At the gate they were received as Darius 
had foretold. The guards, who had no suspi- 
cion that they came for any ill purpose, and 
held the chief Persians in much reverence, let 
them pass without difficulty it seemed as if 
they were under the special protection of the 
gods none even asked them any question. 
When they were now in the great court they 
fell in with certain of the eunuchs, whose bus- 
iness it was to carry the king's messages, who 
stopped them and asked what they wanted, 
while at the same time they threatened the 
doorkeepers for having let them enter. The 
seven sought to press on, but the eunuchs 
would not suffer them. Then these men, with 
cheers encouraging one another, drew their 
daggers, and stabbing those who strove to 




withstand them, rushed forward to the apart- 
ment of the males. 

78. Now both the Magi were at this time 
within, holding counsel upon the matter of 
Prexaspes. So when they heard the stir among 
the eunuchs, and their loud cries, they ran out 
themselves, to see what was happening. In- 
stantly perceiving their danger, they both flew 
to arms; one had just time to seize his bow, the 
other got hold of his lance; when straightway 
the fight began. The one whose weapon was 
the bow found it of no service at all; the foe 
was too near, and the combat too close to allow 
of his using it. But the other made a stout de- 
fence with his lance, wounding two of the 
seven, Aspathines in the leg, and Intaphernes 
in the eye. This wound did not kill Intaphernes, 
but it cost him the sight of that eye. The other 
Magus, when he found his bow of no avail, 
fled into a chamber which opened out into the 
apartment of the males, intending to shut to 
the doors. But two of the seven entered the 
room with him, Darius and Gobryas. Gobryas 
seized the Magus and grappled with him, 
while Darius stood over them, not knowing 
what to do; for it was dark, and he was afraid 
that if he struck a blow he might kill Gobryas. 
Then Gobyras, when he perceived that Darius 
stood doing nothing, asked him, "why his 
hand was idle?" "I fear to hurt thee," he 
answered. "Fear not," said Gobryas; "strike, 
though it be through both." Darius did as he 
desired, drove his dagger home, and by good 
hap killed the Magus. 

79. Thus were the Magi slain; and the seven, 
cutting off both the heads, and leaving their 
own wounded in the palace, partly because 
they were disabled, and partly to guard the cit- 
adel, went forth from the gates with the heads 
in their hands, shouting and making an up- 
roar. They called out to all the Persians whom 
they met, and told them what had happened, 
showing them the heads of the Magi, while at 
the same time they slew every Magus who fell 
in their way. Then the Persians, when they 
knew what the seven had done, and under- 
stood the fraud of the Magi, thought it but just 
to follow the example set them, and, drawing 
their daggers, they killed the Magi wherever 
they could find any. Such was their fury, that, 
unless night had closed in, not a single Magus 
would have been left alive. The Persians ob- 
serve this day with one accord, and keep it 
more strictly than any other in the whole year. 
It is then that they hold the great festival, 
which they call the Magophonia. No Magus 

may show himself abroad during the whole 
time that the feast lasts; but all must remain at 
home the entire day. 

80. And now when five days were gone, and 
the hubbub had settled down, the conspirators 
met together to consult about the situation of 
affairs. At this meeting speeches were made, to 
which many of the Greeks give no credence, 
but they were made nevertheless. Otanes rec- 
ommended that the management of public af- 
fairs should be entrusted to the whole nation. 
"To me," he said, "it seems advisable, that we 
should no longer have a single man to rule 
over us the rule of one is neither good nor 
pleasant. Ye cannot have forgotten to what 
lengths Cambyses went in his haughty tyranny, 
and the haughtiness of the Magi ye have your- 
selves experienced. How indeed is it possible 
that monarchy should be a well-adjusted thing, 
when it allows a man to do as he likes without 
being answerable? Such licence is enough to 
stir strange and unwonted thoughts in the 
heart of the worthiest of men. Give a person 
this power, and straightway his manifold good 
things puff him up with pride, while envy is 
so natural to human kind that it cannot but 
arise in him. But pride and envy together in- 
clude all wickedness both of them leading on 
to deeds of savage violence. True it is that 
kings, possessing as they do all that heart can de- 
sire, ought to be void of envy; but the contrary 
is seen in their conduct towards the citizens. 
They are jealous of the most virtuous among 
their subjects, and wish their death; while they 
take delight in the meanest and basest, being 
ever ready to listen to the tales of slanderers. A 
king, besides, is beyond all other men incon- 
sistent with himself. Pay him court in modera- 
tion, and he is angry because you do not show 
him more profound respect show him pro- 
found respect, and he is offended again, be- 
cause (as he says) you fawn on him. But the 
worst of all is, that he sets aside the laws of the 
land, puts men to death without trial, and sub- 
jects women to violence. The rule of the many, 
on the other hand, has, in the first place, the 
fairest of names, to wit, isonomy; and further 
it is free from all those outrages which a king 
is wont to commit. There, places are given by 
lot, the magistrate is answerable for what he 
does, and measures rest with the commonalty. 
I vote, therefore, that we do away with mon- 
archy, and raise the people to power. For the 
people are all in all." 

81. Such were the sentiments of Otancs 
Megabyzus spoke next, and advised the setting 



[BOOK m 

up of an oligarchy: "In all that Otancs has 
said to persuade you to put down monarchy," 
he observed, "I fully concur; but his recom- 
mendation that we should call the people to 
power seems to me not the best advice. For 
there is nothing so void of understanding, 
nothing so full of wantonness, as the unwieldy 
rabble. It were folly not to be borne, for men, 
while seeking to escape the wantonness of a 
tyrant, to give themselves up to the wanton- 
ness of a rude unbridled mob. The tyrant, in 
all his doings, at least knows what is he about, 
but a mob is altogether devoid of knowledge; 
for how should there be any knowledge in a 
rabble, untaught, and with no natural sense of 
what is right and fit? It rushes wildly into state 
affairs with all the fury of a stream swollen in 
the winter, and confuses everything. Let the 
enemies of the Persians be ruled by democra- 
cies; but let us choose out from the citizens a 
certain number of the worthiest, and put the 
government into their hands. For thus both we 
ourselves shall be among the governors, and 
power being entrusted to the best men, it is 
likely that the best counsels will prevail in the 

82. This was the advice which Megabyzus 
gave, and after him Darius came forward, and 
spoke as follows: "All that Megabyzus said 
against democracy was well said, I think; but 
about oligarchy he did not speak advisedly; for 
take these three forms of government democ- 
racy, oligarchy, and monarchy and let them 
each be at their best, I maintain that monarchy 
far surpasses the other two. What government 
can possibly be better than that of the very best 
man in the whole state? The counsels of such 
a man are like himself, and so he governs the 
mass of the people to their heart's content; 
while at the same time his measures against 
evil-doers are kept more secret than in other 
states. Contrariwise, in oligarchies, where men 
vie with each other in the service of the com- 
monwealth, fierce enmities are apt to arise be- 
tween man and man, each wishing to be lead- 
er, and to carry his own measures; whence vio- 
lent quarrels come, which lead to open strife, 
often ending in bloodshed. Then monarchy is 
sure to follow; and this too shows how far that 
rule surpasses all others. Again, in a democra- 
cy, it is impossible but that there will be mal- 
practices: these malpractices, however, do not 
lead to enmities, but to close friendships, 
which are formed among those engaged in 
them, who must hold well together to carry on 
their villainies. And so things go on until a 

man stands forth as champion of the common- 
alty, and puts down the evil-doers. Straight- 
way the author of so great a service is admired 
by all, and from being admired soon comes to 
be appointed king; so that here too it is plain 
that monarchy is the best government. Lastly, 
to sum up all in a word, whence, I ask, was it 
that we got the freedom which we enjoy? 
did democracy give it us, or oligarchy, or a 
monarch? As a single man recovered our free- 
dom for us, my sentence is that we keep to the 
rule of one. Even apart from this, we ought not 
to change the laws of our forefathers when they 
work fairly; for to do so is not well." 

83. Such were the three opinions brought 
forward at this meeting; the four other Per- 
sians voted in favour of the last. Otanes, who 
wished to give his countrymen a democracy, 
when he found the decision against him, arose 
a second time, and spoke thus before the as- 
sembly: "Brother conspirators, it is plain that 
the king who is to be chosen will be one of our- 
selves, whether we make the choice by casting 
lots for the prize, or by letting the people de- 
cide which of us they will have to rule over 
them, in or any other way. Now, as I have 
neither a mind to rule nor to be ruled, I shall 
not enter the lists with you in this matter. I 
withdraw, however, on one condition none of 
you shall claim to exercise rule over me or my 
seed for ever." The six agreed to these terms, 
and Otancs withdraw and stood aloof from 
the contest. And still to this day the family of 
Otanes continues to be the only free family in 
Persia; those who belong to it submit to the 
rule of the king only so far as they themselves 
choose; they are bound, however, to observe 
the laws of the land like the other Persians. 

84. After this the six took counsel together, 
as to the fairest way of setting up a king: and 
first, with respect to Otanes, they resolved, that 
if any ot their own number got the kingdom, 
Otanes and his seed after him should receive 
year by year, as a mark of special honour, a 
Median robe, and all such other gifts as are ac- 
counted the most honourable in Persia. And 
these they resolved to give him, because he was 
the man who first planned the outbreak, and 
who brought the seven together. These privi- 
leges, therefore, were assigned specially to 
Otanes. The following were made common to 
them all: It was to be free to each, whenever 
he pleased, to enter the palace unannounced, 
unless the king were in the company of one of 
his wives; and the king was to be bound to 
marry into no family excepting those of the 




conspirators. Concerning the appointment of 
a king, the resolve to which they came was the 
following: They would ride out together 
next morning into the skirts of the city, and he 
whose steed first neighed after the sun was up 
should have the kingdom. 

85. Now Darius had a groom, a sharp-wit- 
ted knave, called CEbares. After the meeting 
had broken up, Darius sent for him, and said, 
"CEbares, this is the way in which the king is 
to be chosen we are to mount our horses, and 
the man whose horse first neighs after the sun 
is up is to have the kingdom. If then you have 
any cleverness, contrive a plan whereby the 
prize may fall to us, and not go to another." 
"Truly, master," CEbares answered, "if it de- 
pends on this whether thou shalt be king or no, 
set thine heart at ease, and fear nothing: I 
have a charm which is sure not to fail." "If 
thou hast really aught of the kind," said Dari- 
us, "hasten to get it ready. The matter does 
not brook delay, for the trial is to be to-mor- 
row." So CEbares when he heard that, did as 
follows: When night came, he took one of 
the mares, the chief favourite of the horse 
which Darius rode, and tethering it in the sub- 
urb, brought his master's horse to the place; 
then, after leading him round and round the 
mare several times, nearer and nearer at each 
circuit, he ended by letting them come togeth- 

86. And now, when the morning broke, the 
six Persians, according to agreement, met to- 
gether on horseback, and rode out to the sub- 
urb. As they went along they neared the spot 
where the mare was tethered the night before, 
whereupon the horse of Darius sprang for- 
ward and neighed. Just at the same time, 
though the sky was clear and bright, there was 
a flash of lightning, followed by a thunder- 
clap. It seemed as if the heavens conspired with 
Darius, and hereby inaugurated him king: so 
the five other nobles leaped with one accord 
from their steeds, and bowed down before him 
and owned him for their king. 

87. This is the account which some of the 
Persians gave of the contrivance of CEbares; 
but there are others who relate the matter dif- 
ferently. They say that in the morning he 
stroked the mare with his hand, which he then 
hid in his trousers until the sun rose and the 
horses were about to start, when he suddenly 
drew his hand forth and put it to the nostrils 
of his master's horse, which immediately snort- 
ed and neighed. 

88. Thus was Darius, son of Hystaspes, ap- 

pointed king; and, except the Arabians, all they 
of Asia were subject to him; for Cyrus, and 
after him Cambyses, had brought them all un- 
der. The Arabians were never subject as slaves 
to the Persians, but had a league of friendship 
with them from the time when they brought 
Cambyses on his way as he went into Egypt; 
for had they been unfriendly the Persians 
could never have made their invasion. 

And now Darius contracted marriages of the 
first rank, according to the notions of the Per- 
sians: to wit, with two daughters of Cyrus, 
Atossa and Artystone; of whom, Atossa had 
been twice married before, once to Cambyses, 
her brother, and once to the Magus, while the 
other, Artystone, was a virgin. He married also 
Parmys, daughter of Smerdis, son of Cyrus; 
and he likewise took to wife the daughter of 
Otanes, who had made the discovery about the 
Magus. And now when his power was estab- 
lished firmly throughout all the kingdoms, the 
first thing that he did was to set up a carving 
in stone, which showed a man mounted upon 
a horse, with an inscription in these words fol- 
lowing: "Darius, son of Hystaspes, by aid of 
his good horse" (here followed the horse's 
name), "and of his good groom CEbares, got 
himself the kingdom of the Persians." 

89. This he set up in Persia; and afterwards 
he proceeded to establish twenty governments 
of the kind which the Persians call satrapies, 
assigning to each its governor, and fixing the 
tribute which was to be paid him by the sev- 
eral nations. And generally he joined together in 
one satrapy the nations that were neighbours, 
but sometimes he passed over the nearer tribes, 
and put in their stead those which were more 
remote. The following is an^pcount of these 
governments, and of the yearly tribute which 
they paid to the king: Such as brought their 
tribute in silver were ordered to pay according 
to the Babylonian talent; while the Euboic was 
the standard measure for such as brought gold. 
Now the Babylonian talent contains seventy 
Euboic minac. 1 During all the reign of Cyrus, 
and afterwards when Cambyses ruled, there 
were no fixed tributes, but the nations several- 
ly brought gifts to the king. On account of this 

Standards of weight probably passed into 
Greece from Asia, when the word mina (M*^) 
seems certainly to have been derived. That the 
standard known to the Greeks as the Euboic was 
an Asiatic one, is plain from this passage. If the 
(later) Attic talent was worth ^243 155., the Eu- 
boic (silver) talent would be 250 8s. 5d., and the 
Babylonian ^292 3 s - 3d* 



[BooK m 

and other like doings, the Persians say that 
Darius was a huckster, Cambyses a master, and 
Cyrus a father; for Darius looked to making a 
gain in everything; Cambyses was harsh and 
reckless; while Cyrus was gentle, and pro- 
cured them all manner of goods. 

90. The lonians, the Magnesians of Asia, 
the jEolians, the Carians, the Lycians, the Mily- 
ans, and the Pamphylians, paid their tribute 
in a single sum, which was fixed at four hun- 
dred talents of silver. These formed together 
the first satrapy. 

The Mysians, Lydians, Lasonians, Cabalians, 
and Hygennians paid the sum of five hundred 
talents. This was the second satrapy. 

The Hellespontians, of the right coast as one 
enters the straits, the Phrygians, the Asiatic 
Thracians, the Paphlagonians, the Mariandy- 
nians, and the Syrians paid a tribute of three 
hundred and sixty talents. This was the third 

The Cilicians gave three hundred and sixty 
white horses, one for each day in the year, and 
five hundred talents of silver. Of this sum one 
hundred and forty talents went to pay the cav- 
alry which guarded the country, while the 
remaining three hundred and sixty were re- 
ceived by Darius. This was the fourth satrapy. 

91. The country reaching from the city of 
Posideium (built by Amphilochus, son of Am- 
phiaraiis, on the confines of Syria and Cilicia) 
to the borders of Egypt, excluding therefrom 
a district which belonged to Arabia and was 
free from tax, paid a tribute of three hundred 
and fifty talents. All Phoenicia, Palestine Syria, 
and Cyprus, were herein contained. This was 
the fifth satrapy. 

From Egypt, nd the neighbouring parts of 
Libya, together with the towns of Cyrene and 
Barca, which belonged to the Egyptian satrapy, 
the tribute which came in was seven hundred 
talents. These seven hundred talents did not 
include the profits of the fisheries of Lake Mce- 
ris, nor the corn furnished to the troops at 
Memphis. Corn was supplied to 120,000 Per- 
sians, who dwelt at Memphis in the quarter 
called the White Castle, and to a number of 
auxiliaries. This was the sixth satrapy. 

The Sattagydians, the Gandarians, the Da- 
dicae, and the Aparytae, who were all reckoned 
together, paid a tribute of a hundred and sev- 
enty talents. This was the seventh satrapy. 

Susa, and the other parts of Cissia, paid three 
hundred talents. This was the eighth satrapy. 

92. From Babylonia, and the rest of Assyria, 
were drawn a thousand talents of silver, and 

five hundred boy-eunuchs. This was the ninth 

Agbatana, and the other parts of Media, to- 
gether with the Paricanians and Orthocory- 
bantes, paid in all four hundred and fifty tal- 
ents. This was the tenth satrapy. 

The Caspians, Pausicae, Pantimathi, and 
Daritae, were joined in one government, and 
paid the sum of two hundred talents. This was 
the eleventh satrapy. 

From the Bactrian tribes as far as the ^gli, 
the tribute received was three hundred and 
sixty talents. This was the twelfth satrapy. 

93. From Pactyi'ca, Armenia, and the coun- 
tries reaching thence to the Euxine, the sum 
drawn was four hundred talents. This was the 
thirteenth satrapy. 

The Sagartians, Sarangians, Thamana^ans, 
Utians, and Mycians, together with the inhab- 
itants of the islands in the Erythraean sea, 
where the king sends those whom he banishes, 
furnished altogether a tribute of six hundred 
talents. This was the fourteenth satrapy. 

The Sacans and Caspians gave two hun- 
dred and fifty talents. This was the fifteenth 

The Parthians, Chorasmians, Sogdians, and 
Anans, gave three hundred. This was the six- 
teenth satrapy. 

94. The Paricanians and Ethiopians of Asia 
furnished a tribute of four hundred talents. 
This was the seventeenth satrapy. 

The Matienians, Saspeires, and Alarodians 
were rated to pay two hundred talents. This 
was the eighteenth satrapy. 

The Moschi, Tibareni, Macrones, Mosynceci, 
and Mares had to pay three hundred talents. 
This was the nineteenth satrapy. 

The Indians, who are more numerous than 
any other nation with which we are acquaint- 
ed, paid a tribute exceeding that of every other 
people, to wit, three hundred and sixty talents 
of gold-dust. This was the twentieth satrapy. 

95. If the Babylonian money here spoken of 
be reduced to the Euboic scale, it will make 
nine thousand five hundred and forty such tal- 
ents; and if the gold be reckoned at thirteen 
times the worth of silver, the Indian gold-dust 
will come to four thousand six hundred and 
eighty talents. Add these two amounts togeth- 
er and the whole revenue which came in to 
Darius year by year will be found to be 
in Euboic money fourteen thousand five hun- 
dred and sixty talents, not to mention parts of 
a talent. 

96. Such was the revenue which Darius de- 


rived from Asia and a small part of Libya. La- 
ter in his reign the sum was increased by the 
tribute of the islands, and of the nations of Eu- 
rope as far as Thessaly. The Great King stores 
away the tribute which he receives after this 
fashion he melts it down, and, while it is in 
a liquid state, runs it into earthen vessels, 
which are afterwards removed, leaving the 
metal in a solid mass. When money is wanted, 
he coins as much of this bullion as the occasion 

97. Such then were the governments, and 
such the amounts of tribute at which they were 
assessed respectively. Persia alone has not been 
reckoned among the tributaries and for this 
reason, because the country of the Persians is 
altogether exempt from tax. The following 
peoples paid no settled tribute, but brought 
gifts to the king: first, the Ethiopians border- 
ing upon Egypt, who were reduced by Cam- 
byses when he made war on the long-lived Ethi- 
opians, and who dwell about the sacred city 
of Nysa, and have festivals in honour of Bac- 
chus. The grain on which they and their next 
neighbours feed is the same as that used by the 
Calantian Indians. Their dwelling-houses are 
under ground. Every third year these two na- 
tions brought and they still bring to my day 
two choenices 1 of virgin gold, two hundred 
logs of ebony, five Ethiopian boys, and twenty 
elephant tusks. The Colchians, and the neigh- 
bouring tribes who dwell between them and 
the Caucasus for so far the Persian rule reach- 
es, while north of the Caucasus no one fears 
them any longer undertook to furnish a gift, 
which in my day was still brought every fifth 
year, consisting of a hundred boys, and the 
same number of maidens. The Arabs brought 
every year a thousand talents of frankincense. 
Such were the gifts which the king received 
over and above the tribute-money. 

98. The way in which the Indians get the 
plentiful supply of gold which enables them 
to furnish year by year so vast an amount of 
gold-dust to the king, is the following: east- 
ward of India lies a tract which is entirely 
sand. Indeed of all the inhabitants of Asia, con- 
cerning whom anything certain is known, the 
Indians dwell the nearest to the east, and the 
rising of the sun. Beyond them the whole 
country is desert on account of the sand. The 
tribes of Indians are numerous, and do not all 
speak the same language some are wandering 
tribes, others not. They who dwell in the 
marshes along the river live on raw fish, which 

1 About two quarts. 



they take in boats made of reeds, each formed 
out of a single joint. These Indians wear a 
dress of sedge, which they cut in the river and 
bruise; afterwards they weave it into mats, and 
wear it as we wear a breast-plate. 

99. Eastward of these Indians are another 
tribe, called Padaeans, who are wanderers, and 
live on raw flesji. This tribe is said to have the 
following customs: If one of their number 
be ill, man or woman, they take the sick per- 
son, and if he be a man, the men of his acquaint- 
ance proceed to put him to death, because, 
they say, his flesh would be spoilt for them if 
he pined and wasted away with sickness. The 
man protests he is not ill in the least; but his 
friends will not accept his denial in spite of 
all he can say, they kill him, and feast them- 
selves on his body. So also if a woman be sick, 
the women, who are her friends, take her and 
do with her exactly the same as the men. If one 
of them reaches to old age, about which there 
is seldom any question, as commonly before 
that time they have had some disease or other, 
and so have been put to death but if a man, 
notwithstanding, comes to be old, then they 
ofTer him in sacrifice to their gods, and after- 
wards eat his flesh. 

100. There is another set of Indians whose 
customs are very different. They refuse to put 
any live animal to death, they sow no corn, and 
have no dwelling-houses. Vegetables are their 
only food. There is a plant which grows wild 
in their country, bearing seed, about the size 
of millet-seed, in a calyx: their wont is to gath- 
er this seed and having boiled it, calyx and 
all, to use it for food. If one of them is attacked 
with sickness, he goes forth into the wilderness, 
and lies down to die; no one has the least con- 
cern either for the sick or for the dead. 

101. All the tribes which I have mentioned 
live together like the brute beasts: they have 
also all the same tint of skin, which approaches 
that of the Ethiopians. Their country is a long 
way from Persia towards the south: nor had 
king Darius ever any authority over them. 

102. Besides these, there are Indians of an- 
other tribe, who border on the city of Caspaty- 
rus, and the country of Pactyica; these people 
dwell northward of all the rest of the Indians, 
and follow nearly the same mode of life as the 
Bactrians. They are more warlike than any of 
the other tribes, and from them the men are 
sent forth who go to procure the gold. For it is 
in this part of India that the sandy desert lies. 
Here, in this desert, there live amid the sand 
great ants, in size somewhat less than dogs, 



[BOOK in 

but bigger than foxes. The Persian king has a 
number of them, which have been caught by 
the hunters in the land whereof we are speak- 
ing. Those ants make their dwellings under 
ground, and like the Greek ants, which they 
very much resemble in shape, throw up sand- 
heaps as they burrow. Now the sand which 
they throw up is full of golcj. The Indians, 
when they go into the desert to collect this 
sand, take three camels and harness them to- 
gether, a female in the middle and a male on 
either side, in a leading-rein. The rider sits on 
the female, and they are particular to choose 
for the purpose one that has but just dropped 
her young; for their female camels can run as 
fast as horses, while they bear burthens very 
much better. 

103. As the Greeks are well acquainted with 
the shape of the camel, I shall not trouble to 
describe it; but I shall mention what seems to 
have escaped their notice. The camel has in its 
hind legs four thigh-bones and four knee- 
joints. 1 

104. When the Indians therefore have thus 
equipped themselves they set off in quest of 
the gold, calculating the time so that they may 
be engaged in seizing it during the most sultry 
part of the day, when the ants hide themselves 
to escape the heat. The sun in those parts shines 
fiercest in the morning, not, as elsewhere, at 
noonday; the greatest heat is from the time 
when he has reached a certain height, until the 
hour at which the market closes. During this 
space he burns much more furiously than at 
midday in Greece, so that the men there are 
said at that time to drench themselves with 
water. At noon his heat is much the same in 
India as in other countries, after which, as the 
day declines, the warmth is only equal to that 
of the morning sun elsewhere. Towards eve- 
ning the coolness increases, till about sunset it 
becomes very cold. 

105. When the Indians reach the place 
where the gold is, they fill their bags with the 
sand, and ride away at their best speed: the 
ants, however, scenting them, as the Persians 
say, rush forth in pursuit. Now these animals 
are, they declare, so swift, that there is nothing 
in the world like them: if it were not, there- 
fore, that the Indians get a start while the ants 
are mustering, not a single gold-gatherer could 

1 This is of course untrue, and it is difficult to 
understand how Herodotus could entertain such a 
notion. There is no real difference, as regards the 
anatomy of the leg, between the horse and the 

escape. During the flight the male camels, 
which are not so fleet as the females, grow 
tired, and begin to drag, first one, and then the 
other; but the females recollect the young 
which they have left behind, and never give 
way or flag. Such, according to the Persians, is 
the manner in which the Indians get the great- 
er part of their gold; some is dug out of the 
earth, but of this the supply is more scanty. 

106. It seems as if the extreme regions of the 
earth were blessed by nature with the most ex- 
cellent productions, just in the same way that 
Greece enjoys a climate more excellently tem- 
pered than any other country. In India, which, 
as I observed lately, is the furthest region of the 
inhabited world towards the east, all the four- 
footed beasts and the birds are very much big- 
ger than those found elsewhere, except only the 
horses, which are surpassed by the Median 
breed called the Nissan. Gold too is produced 
there in vast abundance, some dug from the 
earth, some washed down by the rivers, some 
carried off in the mode which I have but now 
described. And further, there are trees which 
grow wild there, the fruit whereof is a wool 
exceeding in beauty and goodness that of 
sheep. The natives make their clothes of this 
tree- wool. 

107. Arabia is the last of inhabited lands to- 
wards the south, and it is the only country 
which produces frankincense, myrrh, cassia, 
cinnamon, and ledanum. The Arabians do not 
get any of these, except the myrrh, without 
trouble. The frankincense they procure by 
means of the gum styrax, which the Greeks ob- 
tain from the Phoenicians; this they burn, and 
thereby obtain the spice. For the trees which 
bear the frankincense are guarded by winged 
serpents, small in size, and of varied colours, 
whereof vast numbers hang about every tree. 
They are of the same kind as the serpents that 
invade Egypt; and there is nothing but the 
smoke of the styrax which will drive them 
from the trees. 

108. The Arabians say that the whole world 
would swarm with these serpents, if they were 
not kept in check in the way in which I know 
that vipers are. Of a truth Divine Providence 
does appear to be, as indeed one might expect 
beforehand, a wise contriver. For timid ani- 
mals which are a prey to others are all made 
to produce young abundantly, that so the spe- 
cies may not be entirely eaten up and lost; 
while savage and noxious creatures are made 
very unfruitful. The hare, for instance, which 
is hunted alike by beasts, birds, and men, 




breeds so abundantly as even to superfetate, a 
thing which is true of no other animal. You 
find in a hare's belly, at one and the same time, 
some of the young all covered with fur, others 
quite naked, others again just fully formed in 
the womb, while the hare perhaps has lately 
conceived afresh. The lioness, on the other 
hand, which is one of the strongest and boldest 
of brutes, brings forth young but once in her 
lifetime, 1 and then a single cub; she cannot pos- 
sibly conceive again, since she loses her womb 
at the same time that she drops her young. 
The reason of this is that as soon as the cub 
begins to stir inside the dam, his claws, which 
are sharper than those of any other animal, 
scratch the womb; as the time goes on, and he 
grows bigger, he tears it ever more and more; 
so that at last, when the birth comes, there is 
not a morsel in the whole womb that is sound. 

109. Now with respect to the vipers and the 
winged snakes of Arabia, if they increased as 
fast as their nature would allow, impossible 
were it for man to maintain himself upon the 
earth. Accordingly it is found that when the 
male and female come together, at the very 
moment of impregnation, the female seizes the 
male by the neck, and having once fastened, 
cannot be brought to leave go till she has bit 
the neck entirely through. And so the male 
perishes; but after a while he is revenged upon 
the female by means of the young, which, 
while still unborn, gnaw a passage through 
the womb, and then through the belly of their 
mother, and so make their entrance into the 
world. Contrariwise, other snakes, which are 
harmless, lay eggs, and hatch a vast number of 
young. Vipers are found in all parts of the 
world, but the winged serpents are nowhere 
seen except in Arabia, where they are all con- 
gregated together. This makes them appear so 

no. Such, then, is the way in which the 
Arabians obtain their frankincense; their man- 
ner of collecting the cassia is the following: 
They cover all their body and their face with 
the hides of oxen and other skins, leaving only 
holes for the eyes, and thus protected go in 
search of the cassia, which grows in a lake of 
no great depth. All round the shores and in 
the lake itself there dwell a number of winged 
animals, much resembling bats, which screech 
horribly, and are very valiant. These creatures 
they must keep from their eyes all the while 
that they gather the cassia. 

1 The fabulous character of the whole of this ac- 
count was known to Aristotle. 

in. Still more wonderful is the mode in 
which they collect the cinnamon. Where the 
wood grows, and what country produces it, 
they cannot tell only some, following proba- 
bility, relate that it comes from the country in 
which Bacchus was brought up. Great birds, 
they say, bring the sticks which we Greeks, 
taking the word from the Phoenicians, call cin- 
namon, and carry them up into the air to make 
their nests. These are fastened with a sort of 
mud to a sheer face of rock, where no foot of 
man is able to climb. So the Arabians, to get 
the cinnamon, use the following artifice. They 
cut all the oxen and asses and beasts of burthen 
that die in their land into large pieces, which 
they carry with them into those regions, and 
place near the nests: then they withdraw to a 
distance, and the old birds, swooping down, 
seize the pieces of meat and fly with them up 
to their nests; which, not being able to support 
the weight, break off and fall to the ground. 
Hereupon the Arabians return and collect the 
cinnamon, which is afterwards carried from 
Arabia into other countries. 

112. Ledanum, which the Arabs call lada- 
num, is procured in a yet stranger fashion. 
Found in a most inodorous place, it is the 
sweetest-scented of all substances. It is gathered 
from the beards of he-goats, where it is found 
sticking like gum, having come from the bush- 
es on which they browse. It is used in many 
sorts of unguents, and is what the Arabs burn 
chiefly as incense. 

113. Concerning the spices of Arabia let no 
more be said. The whole country is scented 
with them, and exhales an odour marvellously 
sweet. There are also in Arabia two kinds of 
sheep worthy of admiration, the like of which 
is nowhere else to be seen; the one kind has 
long tails, not less than three cubits in length, 
which, if they were allowed to trail on the 
ground, would be bruised and fall into sores. 
As it is, all the shepherds know enough of car- 
pentering to make little trucks for their sheep's 
tails. The trucks are placed under the tails, each 
sheep having one to himself, and the tails are 
then tied down upon them. The other kind 
has a broad tail, which is a cubit across some- 

114. Where the south declines towards the 
setting sun lies the country called Ethiopia, the 
last inhabited land in that direction. There 
gold is obtained in great plenty, huge elephants 
abound, with wild trees of all sorts, and ebony; 
and the men are taller, handsomer, and longer 
lived than anywhere else. 



[ BOOK in 

115. Now these are the farthest regions of 
the world in Asia and Libya. Of the extreme 
tracts of Europe towards the west I cannot 
speak with any certainty; for I do not allow 
that there is any river, to which the bar- 
barians give the name of Eridanus, emptying 
itself into the northern sea, whence (as the tale 
goes) amber is procured; nor do I know of 
any islands called the Cassiterides (Tin Is- 
lands), whence the tin comes which we use. 
For in the first place the name Eridanus is 
manifestly not a barbarian word at all, but a 
Greek name, invented by some poet or other; 
and secondly, though I have taken vast pains, 
I have never been able to get an assurance from 
an eye-witness that there is any sea on the fur- 
ther side of Europe. Nevertheless, tin and am- 
ber do certainly come to us from the ends of 
the earth. 

1 1 6. The northern parts of Europe are very 
much richer in gold than any other region: 
but how it is procured I have no certain knowl- 
edge. The story runs that the one-eyed An- 
maspi purloin it from the griffins; but here 
too I am incredulous, and cannot persuade my- 
self that there is a race of men born with one 
eye, who in all else resemble the rest of man- 
kind. Nevertheless it seems to be true that the 
extreme regions of the earth, which surround 
and shut up within themselves all other coun- 
tries, produce the things which are the rarest, 
and which men reckon the most beautiful. 

117. There is a plain in Asia which is shut 
in on all sides by a mountain-range, and in this 
mountain-range are five openings. The plain 
lies on the confines of the Chorasmians, Hyr- 
canians, Parthians, Sarangians, and Thamanae- 
ans, and belonged formerly to the first-men- 
tioned of those peoples. Ever since the Per- 
sians, however, obtained the mastery of Asia, 
it has been the property of the Great King. A 
mighty river, called the Aces, flows from the 
hills inclosing the plain; and this stream, for- 
merly splitting into five channels, ran through 
the five openings in the hills, and watered the 
lands of the five nations which dwell around. 
The Persian came, however, and conquered 
the region, and then it went ill with the peo- 
ple of these lands. The Great King blocked 
up all the passages between the hills with dykes 
and flood-gates, and so prevented the water 
from flowing out. Then the plain within the 
hills became a sea, for the river kept rising, and 
the water could find no outlet. From that time 
the five nations which were wont formerly to 
have the use of the stream, losing their accus- 

tomed supply of water, have been in great dis- 
tress. In winter, indeed, they have rain from 
heaven like the rest of the world, but in sum- 
mer, after sowing their millet and their sesame, 
they always stand in need of water from the 
river. When, therefore, they suffer from this 
want, hastening to Persia, men and women 
alike, they take their station at the gate of the 
king's palace, and wail aloud. Then the king 
orders the flood-gates to be opened towards the 
country whose need is greatest, and lets the 
soil drink until it has had enough; after which 
the gates on this side are shut, and others are 
unclosed for the nation which, of the remain- 
der, needs it most. It has been told me that the 
king never gives the order to open the gates 
till the suppliants have paid him a large sum 
of money over and above the tribute. 

118, Of the seven Persians who rose up 
against the Magus, one, Intaphernes, lost his 
life very shortly after the outbreak, for an act 
of insolence. He wished to enter the palace and 
transact a certain business with the king. Now 
the law was that all those who had taken part 
in the rising against the Magus might enter 
unannounced into the king's presence, unless 
he happened to be in private with his wife. So 
Intaphernes would not have any one announce 
him, but, as he belonged to the seven, claimed 
it as his right to go in. The doorkeeper, how- 
ever, and the chief usher forbade his entrance, 
since the king, they said, was with his wife. 
But Intaphernes thought they told lies; so, 
drawing his scymitar, he cut off their noses and 
their ears, and, hanging them on the bridle of 
his horse, put the bridle round their necks, and 
so let them go. 

119. Then these two men went and showed 
themselves to the king, and told him how it 
had come to pass that they were thus treated. 
Darius trembled lest it was by the common 
consent of the six that the deed had been done; 
he therefore sent for them all in turn, and 
sounded them to know if they approved the 
conduct of Intaphernes. When he found by 
their answers that there had been no concert be- 
tween him and them, he laid hands on Intaph- 
ernes, his children, and all his near kindred; 
strongly suspecting that he and his friends 
were about to raise a revolt. When all had been 
seized and put in chains, as malefactors con- 
demned to death, the wife of Intaphernes came 
and stood continually at the palace-gates, weep- 
ing and wailing sore. So Darius after a while, 
seeing that she never ceased to stand and weep, 
was touched with pity for her, and bade a mes- 

II 5 -I2 3 ] 

senger go to her and say, "Lady, king Darius 
gives thee as a boon the life of one of thy kins- 
men choose which thou wilt of the prison- 
ers." Then she pondered awhile before she an- 
swered, "If the king grants me the life of one 
alone, I make choice of my brother." Darius, 
when he heard the reply, was astonished, and 
sent again, saying, "Lady, the king bids thee 
tell him why it is that thou passest by thy hus- 
band and thy children, and preferrest to have 
the life of thy brother spared. He is not so near 
to thee as thy children, nor so dear as thy hus- 
band." She answered, "O king, if the gods will, 
I may have another husband and other chil- 
dren when these are gone. But as my father 
and my mother are no more, it is impossible 
that I should have another brother. This was 
my thought when I asked to have my brother 
spared." Then it seemed to Darius that the 
lady spoke well, and he gave her, besides the 
life that she had asked, the life also of her eld- 
est son, because he was greatly pleased with 
her. But he slew all the rest. Thus one of the 
seven died, in the way I have described, very 
shortly after the insurrection. 

120. About the time of Cambyses' last sick- 
ness, the following events happened. There 
was a certain Oroetes, a Persian, whom Cyrus 
had made governor of Sardis. This man con- 
ceived a most unholy wish. He had never suf- 
fered wrong or had an ill word from Polycrates 
the Samian nay, he had not so much as seen 
him in all his life; yet, notwithstanding, he 
conceived the wish to seize him and put him 
to death. This wish, according to the account 
which the most part give, arose from what hap- 
pened one day as he was sitting with another 
Persian in the gate of the king's palace. The 
man's name was Mitrobates, and he was ruler 
of the satrapy of Dascyleium. He and Oroetes 
had been talking together, and from talking 
they fell to quarrelling and comparing their 
merits; whereupon Mitrobates said to Oroetes 
reproachfully, "Art thou worthy to be called a 
man, when, near as Samos lies to thy govern- 
ment, and easy as it is to conquer, thou hast 
omitted to bring it under the dominion of the 
king? Easy to conquer, said I? Why, a mere 
common citizen, with the help of fifteen men- 
at-arms, mastered the island, and is still king 
of it." Oroetes, they say, took this reproach 
greatly to heart; but, instead of seeking to re- 
venge himself on the man by whom it was ut- 
tered, he conceived the desire of destroying 
Polycrates, since it was on Polycrates' account 
that the reproach had fallen on him. 



121. Another less common version of the 
story is that Oroetes sent a herald to Samos to 
make a request, the nature of which is not stat- 
ed; Polycrates was at the time reclining in the 
apartment of the males, and Anacreon the Te- 
ian was with him; when therefore the herald 
came forward to converse, Polycrates, either 
out of studied contempt for the power of Oroe- 
tes, or it may be merely by chance, was lying 
with his face turned away towards the wall; 
and so he lay all the time that the herald spake, 
and when he ended, did not even vouchsafe 
him a word. 

122. Such are the two reasons alleged for the 
death of Polycrates; it is open to all to believe 
which they please. What is certain is that Oroe- 
tes, while residing at Magnesia on the Maean- 
der, sent a Lydian, by name Myrsus, the son 
of Gyges, with a message to Polycrates at Sa- 
mos, well knowing what that monarch de- 
signed. For Polycrates entertained a design 
which no other Greek, so far as we know, ever 
formed before him, unless it were Minos the 
Cnossian, and those (if there were any such) 
who had the mastery of the Egaean at an earli- 
er time Polycrates, I say, was the first of mere 
human birth who conceived the design of 
gaining the empire of the sea, and aspired to 
rule over Ionia and the islands. Knowing then 
that Polycrates was thus minded, Oroetes sent 
his message, which ran as follows: 

"Oroetes to Polycrates thus sayeth : I hear thou 
raisest thy thoughts high, but thy means are 
not equal to thy ambition. Listen then to my 
words, and learn how thou mayest at once 
serve thyself and preserve me. King Cambyses 
is bent on my destruction of this I have warn- 
ing from a sure hand. Come thou, therefore, 
and fetch me away, me and all my wealth 
share my wealth with me, and then, so far as 
money can aid, thou mayest make thyself mas- 
ter of the whole of Greece. But if thou doubt- 
est of my wealth, send the trustiest of thy fol- 
lowers, and I will show my treasures to him." 

123. Polycrates, when he heard this message, 
was full of joy, and straightway approved the 
terms; but, as money was what he chiefly de- 
sired, before stirring in the business he sent his 
secretary, Maeandrius, son of Macandrius, a Sa- 
mian, to look into the matter. This was the 
man who, not very long afterwards, made an 
offering at the temple of Juno of all the furni- 
ture which had adorned the male apartments 
in the palace of Polycrates, an offering well 
worth seeing. Oroetes learning that one was 
coming to view his treasures, contrived as fol* 



[BOOK in 

lows: he filled eight great chests almost brim- 
ful of stones, and then covering over the stones 
with gold, corded the chests, and so held them 
in readiness. When Maeandrius arrived, he was 
shown this as Orcetes' treasure, and having 
seen it returned to Samos. 

124. On hearing his account, Polycrates, 
notwithstanding many warnings given him by 
the soothsayers, and much dissuasion of his 
friends, made ready to go in person. Even the 
dream which visited his daughter failed to 
check him. She had dreamed that she saw her 
father hanging high in air, washed by Jove, and 
anointed by the sun. Having therefore thus 
dreamed, she used every effort to prevent her 
father from going; even as he went on board 
his pcnteconter crying after him with words of 
evil omen. Then Polycrates threatened her 
that, if he returned in safety, he would keep 
her unmarried many years. She answered, 
"Oh! that he might perform his threat; far 
better for her to remain long unmarried than 
to be bereft of her father!" 

125. Polycrates, however, making light of 
all the counsel offered him, set sail and went 
to Orcetes. Many friends accompanied him; 
among the rest, Democedes, the son of Calli- 
phon, a native of Crotona, who was a physi- 
cian, and the best skilled in his art of all men 
then living. Polycrates, on his arrrval at Mag- 
nesia, perished miserably, in a way unworthy 
of his rank and of his lofty schemes. For, if we 
except the Syracusans, there has never been 
one of the Greek tyrants who was to be com- 
pared with Polycrates for magnificence. Orce- 
tes, however, slew him in a mode which is not 
fit to be described, and then hung his dead 
body upon a cross. His Samian followers Orce- 
tes let go free, bidding them thank him that 
they were allowed their liberty; the rest, who 
were in part slaves, in part free foreigners, he 
alike treated as his slaves by conquest. Then 
was the dream of the daughter of Polycrates 
fulfilled; for Polycrates, as he hung upon the 
cross, and rain fell on him, was washed by Ju- 
piter; and he was anointed by the sun, when 
his own moisture overspread his body. And so 
the vast good fortune of Polycrates came at last 
to the end which Amasis the Egyptian king 
had prophesied in days gone by. 

126. It was not long before retribution for 
the murder of Polycrates overtook Orcetes. 
After the death of Cambyses, and during all the 
time that the Magus sat upon the throne, Orce- 
tes remained in Sardis, and brought no help 
to the Persians, whom the Medes had robbed 

of the sovereignty. On the contrary, amid the 
troubles of this season, he slew Mitrobates, the 
satrap of Dascyleium, who had cast the re- 
proach upon him in the matter of Polycrates; 
and he slew also Mitrobates's son, Cranaspes 
both men of high repute among the Per- 
sians. He was likewise guilty of many other 
acts of insolence; among the rest, of the follow- 
ing: there was a courier sent to him by Da- 
rius whose message was not to his mind 
Orcetes had him waylaid and murdered on his 
road back to the king; the man and his horse 
both disappeared, and no traces were left of 

127. Darius therefore was no sooner settled 
upon the throne than he longed to take ven- 
geance upon Orcetes for all his misdoings, and 
especially for the murder of Mitrobates and his 
son. To send an armed force openly against 
him, however, he did not think advisable, as 
the whole kingdom was still unsettled, and he 
too was but lately come to the throne, while 
Orcetes, as he understood, had a great power. 
In truth a thousand Persians attended on him 
as a bodyguard, and he held the satrapies of 
Phrygia, Lydia, and Ionia. Darius therefore 
proceeded by artifice. He called together a 
meeting of all the chief of the Persians, and 
thus addressed them: "Who among you, O 
Persians, will undertake to accomplish me a 
matter by skill without force or tumult? Force 
is misplaced where the work wants skilful 
management. Who, then, will undertake to 
bring me Orcetes alive, or else to kill him? He 
never did the Persians any good in his life, and 
he has wrought us abundant injury. Two of 
our number, Mitrobates and his son, he has 
slain; and when messengers go to recall him, 
even though they have their mandate from 
me, with an insolence which is not to be en- 
dured, he puts them to death. We must kill this 
man, therefore, before he does the Persians any 
greater hurt." 

128. Thus spoke Darius; and straightway 
thirty of those present came forward and of- 
fered themselves for the work. As they strove 
together, Darius interfered, and bade them 
have recourse to the lot. Accordingly lots were 
cast, and the task fell to Bagaeus, son of Ar- 
tontes. Then Bagaeus caused many letters to be 
written on divers matters, and sealed them all 
with the king's signet; after which he took the 
letters with him, and departed for Sardis. On 
his arrival he was shown into the presence of 
Orcetes, when he uncovered the letters one by 
one, and giving them to the king's secretary 




every satrap has with him a king's secretary- 
commanded him to read their contents. Here- 
in his design was to try the fidelity of the body- 
guard, and to see if they would be likely to fall 
away from Orcetes. When therefore he saw 
that they showed the letters all due respect, and 
even more highly reverenced their contents, he 
gave the secretary a paper in which was writ- 
ten, "Persians, king Darius forbids you to 
guard Orcetes." The soldiers at these words 
laid aside their spears. So Bagaeus, finding that 
they obeyed this mandate, took courage, and 
gave into the secretary's hands the last letter, 
wherein it was written, "King Darius com- 
mands the Persians who are in Sardis to kill 
Orcetes." Then the guards drew their swords 
and slew him upon the spot. Thus did retribu- 
tion for the murder of Polycrates the Samian 
overtake Oroetes the Persian. 

129. Soon after the treasures of Orcetes had 
been conveyed to Sardis it happened that king 
Darius, as he leaped from his horse during the 
chase, sprained his foot. The sprain was one of 
no common seventy, for the ankle-bone was 
forced quite out of the socket. Now Darius al- 
ready had at his court certain Egyptians whom 
he reckoned the best-skilled physicians in all 
the world; to their aid, therefore, he had re- 
course; but they twisted the foot so clumsily, 
and used such violence, that they only made 
the mischief greater. For seven days and seven 
nights the king lay without sleep, so grievous 
was the pain he suffered. On the eighth day of 
his indisposition, one who had heard before 
leaving Sardis of the skill of Democedes the 
Crotoniat, told Darius, who commanded that 
he should be brought with all speed into his 
presence. When, therefore, they had found him 
among the slaves of Orcetes, quite uncared for 
by any one, they brought him just as he was, 
clanking his fetters, and all clothed in rags, 
before the king. 

130. As soon as he was entered into the 
presence, Darius asked him if he knew medi- 
cine to which he answered "No," for he 
feared that if he made himself known he 
would lose all chance of ever again beholding 
Greece. Darius, however, perceiving that he 
dealt deceitfully, and really understood the art, 
bade those who had brought him to the pres- 
ence go fetch the scourges and the pricking- 
irons. Upon this Democedes made confession, 
but at the same time said, that he had no thor- 
ough knowledge of medicine he had but 
lived some time with a physician, and in this 
way had gained a slight smattering of the art. 

However, Darius put himself under his care, 
and Democedes, by using the remedies cus- 
tomary among the Greeks, and exchanging the 
violent treatment of the Egyptians for milder 
means, first enabled him to get some sleep, and 
then in a very little time restored him alto- 
gether, after he had quite lost the hope of ever 
having the use of his foot. Hereupon the king 
presented Democedes with two sets of fetters 
wrought in gold; so Democedes asked if he 
meant to double his sufferings because he had 
brought him back to health? Darius was 
pleased at the speech, and bade the eunuchs 
take Democedes to see his wives, which they 
did accordingly, telling them all that this was 
the man who had saved the king's life. Then 
each of the wives dipped with a saucer into a 
chest of gold, and gave so bountifully to Dem- 
ocedes, that a slave named Sciton, who fol- 
lowed him, and picked up the staters 1 which 
fell from the saucers, gathered together a great 
heap of gold. 

131. This Democedes left his country and 
became attached to Polycrates in the following 
way: His father, who dwelt at Crotona, was 
a man of a savage temper, and treated him 
cruelly. When, therefore, he could no longer 
bear such constant ill-usage, Democedes left 
his home, and sailed away to Egina. There he 
set up in business, and succeeded the first year 
in surpassing all the best-skilled physicians of 
the place, notwithstanding that he was without 
instruments, and had with him none of the ap- 
pliances needful for the practice of his art. In 
the second year the state of Egina hired his 
services at the price of a talent; in the third the 
Athenians engaged him at a hundred minae; 
and in the fourth Polycrates at two talents. So 
he went to Samos, and there took up his abode. 
It was in no small measure from his success 
that the Crotoniats came to be reckoned such 
good physicians; for about this period the phy- 
sicians of Crotona had the name of being the 
best, and those of Gyrene the second best, in all 
Greece. The Argives, about the same time, 
were thought to be the first musicians in 

132. After Democedes had cured Darius at 
Susa, he dwelt there in a large house, and 
feasted daily at the king's table, nor did he 
lack anything that his heart desired, excepting 
liberty to return to his country. By interceding 
for them with Darius, he saved the lives of the 
Egyptian physicians who had had the care of 
the king before he came, when they were about 

1 A stater was worth $5.72. 



[ BOOK ni 

to be impaled because they had been surpassed 
by a Greek; and further, he succeeded in rescu- 
ing an Elean soothsayer, who had followed the 
fortunes of Polycrates, and was lying in utter 
neglect among his slaves. In short there was no 
one who stood so high as Democedes in the 
favour of the king. 

133. Moreover, within a little while it hap- 
pened that Atossa, the daughter of Cyrus, who 
was married to Darius, had a boil form upon 
her breast, which, after it burst, began to 
spread and increase. Now so long as the sore 
was of no great size, she hid it through shame 
and made no mention of it to any one; but 
when it became worse, she sent at last for 
Democedes, and showed it to him. Democedes 
said that he would make her well, but she must 
first promise him with an oath that if he cured 
her she would grant him whatever request he 
might prefer; assuring her at the same time 
that it should be nothing which she could 
blush to hear. 

134. On these terms Democedes applied his 
art, and soon cured the abscess; and Atossa, 
when she had heard his request, spake thus 
one night to Darius: 

"It seemeth to me strange, my lord, that, with 
the mighty power which is thine, thou sittest 
idle, and neither makest any conquest, nor ad- 
vancest the power of the Persians. Methinks 
that one who is so young, and so richly en- 
dowed with wealth, should perform some no- 
ble achievement to prove to the Persians that 
it is a man who governs them. Another reason, 
too, should urge thee to attempt some enter- 
prise. Not only does it befit thee to show the 
Persians that a man rules them, but for thy 
own peace thou shouldest waste their strength 
in wars lest idleness breed revolt against thy 
authority. Now, too, whilst thou art still young, 
thou mayest well accomplish some exploit; for 
as the body grows in strength the mind too 
ripens, and as the body ages, the mind's pow- 
ers decay, till at last it becomes dulled to every- 

So spake Atossa, as Democedes had instruct- 
ed her. Darius answered: "Dear lady, thou 
hast uttered the very thoughts that occupy my 
brain. I am minded to construct a bridge which 
shall join our continent with the other, and 
so carry war into Scythia. Yet a brief space and 
all will be accomplished as thou desirest." 

But Atossa rejoined: "Look now, this war 
with Scythia were best reserved awhile for 
the Scythians may be conquered at any time. 
Prithee, lead me thy host first into Greece. I 

long to be served by some of those Lacedae- 
monian maids of whom I have heard so much. 
I want also Argive, and Athenian, and Corin- 
thian women. There is now at the court a man 
who can tell thee better than any one else in the 
whole world whatever thou wouldst know con- 
cerning Greece, and who might serve thee 
right well as guide; I mean him who per- 
formed the cure on thy foot." 

"Dear lady," Darius answered, "since it is 
thy wish that we try first the valour of the 
Greeks, it were best, methinks, before march- 
ing against them, to send some Persians to spy 
out the land; they may go in company with 
the man thou mentionest, and when they have 
seen and learnt all, they can bring us back a 
full report. Then, having a more perfect 
knowledge of them, I will begin the war." 

135. Darius, having so spoke, put no long 
distance between the word and the deed, but 
as soon as day broke he summoned to his pres- 
ence fifteen Persians of note, and bade them 
take Democedes for their guide, and explore 
the sea-coasts of Greece. Above all, they were 
to be sure to bring Democedes back with them, 
and not suffer him to run away and escape. 
After he had given these orders, Darius sent 
for Democedes, and besought him to serve as 
guide to the Persians, and when he had shown 
them the whole of Greece to come back to 
Persia. He should take, he said, all the valu- 
ables he possessed as presents to his father and 
his brothers, and he should receive on his re- 
turn a far more abundant store. Moreover, the 
king added, he would give him, as his contri- 
bution towards the presents, a merchantship 
laden with all manner of precious things, 
which should accompany him on his voyage. 
Now I do not believe that Darius, when he 
made these promises, had any guile in his 
heart: Democedes, however, who suspected 
that the king spoke to try him, took care not to 
snatch at the offers with any haste; but said, 
"he would leave his own goods behind to en- 
joy upon his return the merchant-ship which 
the king proposed to grant him to carry gifts 
to his brothers, that he would accept at the 
king's hands." So when Darius had laid his 
orders upon Democedes, he sent him and the 
Persians away to the coast. 

136. The men went down to Phoenicia, to 
Sidon, the Phoenician town, where straightway 
they fitted out two triremes and a trading-ves- 
sel, which they loaded with all manner of pre- 
cious merchandise; and, everything being now 
ready, they set sail for Greece. When they had 


made the land, they kept along the shore and 
examined it, taking notes of all that they saw; 
and in this way they explored the greater por- 
tion of the country, and all the most famous 
regions, until at last they reached Tarentum in 
Italy. There Aristophilides, king of the Taren- 
tines, out of kindness to Democedes, took the 
rudders off the Median ships, and detained 
their crews as spies. Meanwhile Democedes es- 
caped to Crotona, his native city, whereupon 
Aristophilides released the Persians from pris- 
on, and gave their rudders back to them. 

137. The Persians now quitted Tarentum, 
and sailed to Crotona in pursuit of Democedes; 
they found him in the market-place, where 
they straightway laid violent hands on him. 
Some of the Crotoniats, who greatly feared the 
power of the Persians, were willing to give 
him up; but others resisted, held Democedes 
fast, and even struck the Persians with their 
walking-sticks. They, on their part, kept cry- 
ing out, "Men of Crotona, beware what you 
do. It is the king's runaway slave that you are 
rescuing. Think you Darius will tamely sub- 
mit to such an insult? Think you, that if you 
carry off the man from us, it will hereafter go 
well with you? Will you not rather be the first 
persons on whom we shall make war? Will 
not your city be the first we shall seek to lead 
away captive?" Thus they spake, but the Cro- 
toniats did not heed them; they rescued Demo- 
cedes, and seized also the trading-ship which 
the Persians had brought with them from 
Phoenicia. Thus robbed, and bereft of their 
guide, the Persians gave up all hope of explor- 
ing the rest of Greece, and set sail for Asia. As 
they were departing, Democedes sent to them 
and begged they would inform Darius that the 
daughter of Milo was affianced to him as his 
bride. For the name of Milo the wrestler was 
in high repute with the king. My belief is, that 
Democedes hastened his marriage by the pay- 
ment of a large sum of money for the purpose 
of showing Darius that he was a man of mark 
in his own country. 

138. The Persians weighed anchor and left 
Crotona, but, being wrecked on the coast of 
lapygia, were made slaves by the inhabitants. 
From this condition they were rescued by Gil- 
lus, a banished Tarentine, who ransomed them 
at his own cost, and took them back to Darius. 
Darius offered to repay this service by granting 
Gillus whatever boon he chose to ask; where- 
upon Gillus told the king of his misfortune, 
and begged to be restored to his country. Fear- 
ing, however, that he might bring trouble on 


Greece if a vast armament were sent to Italy 
on his account, he added that it would content 
him if the Cnidians undertook to obtain his 
recall. Now the Cnidians were close friends of 
the Tarentines, which made him think there 
was no likelier means of procuring his return. 
Darius promised and performed his part; for 
he sent a messenger to Cnidus, and command- 
ed the Cnidians to restore Gillus. The Cnidi- 
ans did as he wished, but found themselves 
unable to persuade the Tarentines, and were 
too weak to attempt force. Such then was the 
course which this matter took. These were the 
first Persians who ever came from Asia to 
Greece; and they were sent to spy out the land 
for the reason which I have before mentioned. 

139. After this, king Darius besieged and 
took Samos, which was the first city, Greek or 
Barbarian, that he conquered. The cause of his 
making war upon Samos was the following: 
at the time when Cambyses, son of Cyrus, 
marched against Egypt, vast numbers of 
Greeks flocked thither; some, as might have 
been looked for, to push their trade; others, to 
serve in his army; others again, merely to see 
the land: among these last was Syloson, son 
of ^Eaces, and brother of Polycrates, at that 
time an exile from Samos. This Syloson, dur- 
ing his stay in Egypt, met with a singular piece 
of good fortune. He happened one day to put 
on a scarlet cloak, and thus attired to go into 
the market-place at Memphis, when Darius, 
who was one of Cambyses' bodyguard, and not 
at that time a man of any account, saw him, 
and taking a strong liking to the dress, went up 
and offered to purchase it. Syloson perceived 
how anxious he was, and by a lucky inspira- 
tion answered: "There is no price at which I 
would sell my cloak; but I will give it thee for 
nothing, if it must needs be thine." Darius 
thanked him, and accepted the garment. 

140. Poor Syloson felt at the time that he 
had fooled away his cloak in a very simple 
manner; but afterwards, when in the course 
of years Cambyses died, and the seven Persians 
rose in revolt against the Magus, and Darius 
was the man chosen out of the seven to have 
the kingdom, Syloson learnt that the person to 
whom the crown had come was the very man 
who had coveted his cloak in Egypt, and to 
whom he had freely given it. So he made his 
way to Susa, and seating himself at the portal 
of the royal palace, gave out that he was a ben- 
efactor of the king. Then the doorkeeper went 
and told Darius. Amazed at what he heard, the 
king said thus within himself: "What Greek 



[BOOK in 

can have been my benefactor, or to which of 
them do I owe anything, so lately as I have got 
the kingdom? Scarcely a man of them all has 
been here, not more than one or two certainly, 
since I came to the throne. Nor do I remember 
that I am in the debt of any Greek. However, 
bring him in, and let me hear what he means 
by his boast." So the doorkeeper ushered Sylo- 
son into the presence, and the interpreters 
asked him who he was, and what he had done 
that he should call himself a benefactor of the 
king. Then Syloson told the whole story of the 
cloak, and said that it was he who had made 
Darius the present. Hereupon Darius ex- 
claimed, "Oh! thou most generous of men, art 
thou indeed he who, when I had no power at 
all, gavest me something, albeit little? Truly 
the favour is as great as a very grand present 
would be nowadays. I will therefore give thee 
in return gold and silver without stint, that 
thou mayest never repent of having rendered a 
service to Darius, son of Hystaspes." "Give me 
not, O king," replied Syloson, "either silver or 
gold, but recover me Samos, my native land, 
and let that be thy gift to me. It belongs now 
to a slave of ours, who, when Oroetes put my 
brother Polycrates to death, became its master. 
Give me Samos, I beg; but give it unharmed, 
with no bloodshed no leading into captivity." 

141. When he heard this, Darius sent off an 
army, under Otanes, one of the seven, with 
orders to accomplish all that Syloson had de- 
sired. And Otanes went down to the coast and 
made ready to cross over. 

142. The government of Samos was held at 
this time by Maeandrius, son of Maeandrius, 
whom Polycrates had appointed as his deputy. 
This person conceived the wish to act like the 
justest of men, but it was not allowed him to 
do so. On receiving tidings of the death of 
Polycrates, he forthwith raised an altar to Jove 
the Protector of Freedom, and assigned it the 
piece of ground which may still be seen in the 
suburb. This done, he assembled all the citi- 
zens, and spoke to them as follows: 

"Ye know, friends, that the sceptre of Poly- 
crates, and all his power, has passed into my 
hands, and if I choose I may rule over you. But 
what I condemn in another I will, if I may, 
avoid myself. I never approved the ambition of 
Polycrates to lord it over men as good as him- 
self, nor looked with favour on any of those 
who have done the like. Now therefore, since 
he has fulfilled his destiny, I lay down my 
office, and proclaim equal rights. All that I 
claim in return is six talents from the treasures 

of Polycrates, and the priesthood of Jove the 
Protector of Freedom, for myself and my de- 
scendants for ever. Allow me this, as the man 
by whom his temple has been built, and by 
whom ye yourselves are now restored to lib- 
erty." As soon as Mseandrius had ended, one of 
the Samians rose up and said, "As if thou wert 
fit to rule us, base-born and rascal as thou art! 
Think rather of accounting for the monies 
which thou hast fingered." 

143. The man who thus spoke was a certain 
Telesarchus, one of the leading citizens. Mae- 
andrius, therefore, feeling sure that if he laid 
down the sovereign power some one else 
would become tyrant in his room, gave up the 
thought of relinquishing it. Withdrawing to 
the citadel, he sent for the chief men one by 
one, under pretence of showing them his ac- 
counts, and as fast as they came arrested them 
and put them in irons. So these men were 
bound; and Maeandrius within a short time 
fell sick: whereupon Lycaretus, one of his 
brothers, thinking that he was going to die, 
and wishing to make his own accession to the 
throne the easier, slew all the prisoners. It 
seemed that the Samians did not choose to be 
a free people. 

144. When the Persians whose business it 
was to restore Syloson reached Samos, not a 
man was found to lift up his hand against 
them. Maeandrius and his partisans expressed 
themselves willing to quit the island upon cer- 
tain terms, and these terms were agreed to by 
Otanes. After the treaty was made, the most 
distinguished of the Persians had their thrones 
brought, and seated themselves over against 
the citadel. 

145. Now the king Maeandrius had a light- 
headed brother Charilaiis by name whom 
for some offence or other he had shut up in 
prison: this man heard what was going on, and 
peering through his bars, saw the Persians 
sitting peacefully upon their seats, whereupon 
he exclaimed aloud, and said he must speak 
with Masandrius. When this was reported to 
him, Maeandrius gave orders that Charilaiis 
should be released from prison and brought 
into his presence. No sooner did he arrive than 
he began reviling and abusing his brother, and 
strove to persuade him to attack the Persians. 
"Thou meanest-spirited of men," he said, 
"thou canst keep me, thy brother, chained in a 
dungeon, notwithstanding that I have done 
nothing worthy of bonds; but when the Per- 
sians come and drive thee forth a houseless 
wanderer from thy native land, thou lookest 




on, and hast not the heart to seek revenge, 
though they might so easily be subdued. If 
thou, however, art afraid, lend me thy soldiers, 
and I will make them pay dearly for their com- 
ing here. I engage too to send thee first safe 
out of the island." 

146. So spake Charilaiis, and Maeandrius 
gave consent; not (I believe) that he was so 
void of sense as to imagine that his own forces 
could overcome those of the king, but because 
he was jealous of Syloson, and did not wish 
him to get so quietly an unharmed city. He 
desired therefore to rouse the anger of the Per- 
sians against Samos, that so he might deliver it 
up to Syloson with its power at the lowest pos- 
sible ebb; for he knew well that if the Persians 
met with a disaster they would be furious 
against the Samians, while he himself felt 
secure of a retreat at any time that he liked, 
since he had a secret passage under ground 
leading from the citadel to the sea. Maeandrius 
accordingly took ship and sailed away from 
Samos; and Charilaiis, having armed all the 
mercenaries, threw open the gates, and fell 
upon the Persians, who looked for nothing 
less, since they supposed that the whole matter 
had been arranged by treaty. At the first on- 
slaught therefore all the Persians of most note, 
men who were in the habit of using litters, 
were slain by the mercenaries; the rest of the 
army, however, came to the rescue, defeated 
the mercenaries, and drove them back into the 

147. Then Otanes, the general, when he saw 
the great calamity which had befallen the Per- 
sians, made up his mind to forget the orders 
which Darius had given him, "not to kill or 
enslave a single Samian, but to deliver up the 
island unharmed to Syloson,'* and gave the 
word to his army that they should slay the Sa- 
mians, both men and boys, wherever they 
could find them. Upon this some of his troops 
laid siege to the citadel, while others began the 
massacre, killing all they met, some outside, 
some inside the temples. 

148. Maeandrius fled from Samos to Lacedae- 
mon, and conveyed thither all the riches which 
he had brought away from the island, after 
which he acted as follows. Having placed upon 
his board all the gold and silver vessels that he 
had, and bade his servants employ themselves 
in cleaning them, he himself went and entered 
into conversation with Cleomenes, son of Ana- 
xandridas, king of Sparta, and as they talked 
brought him along to his house. There Cleo- 
menes, seeing the plate, was filled with wonder 

and astonishment; whereon the other begged 
that he would carry home with him any of the 
vessels that he liked. Maeandrius said this two 
or three times; but Cleomenes here displayed 
surpassing honesty. He refused the gift, and 
thinking that if Maeandrius made the same 
offers to others he would get the aid he sought, 
the Spartan king went straight to the ephors 
and told them "it would be best for Sparta 
that the Samian stranger should be sent away 
from the Peloponnese; for otherwise he might 
perchance persuade himself or some other 
Spartan to be base." The ephors took his ad- 
vice, and let Maeandrius know by a herald that 
he must leave the city. 

149. Meanwhile the Persians netted Samos, 
and delivered it up to Syloson, stripped of all 
its men. After some time, however, this same 
general Otanes was induced to repeople it by 
a dream which he had, and a loathsome disease 
that seized on him. 

150. After the armament of Otanes had set 
sail for Samos, the Babylonians revolted, hav- 
ing made every preparation for defence. Dur- 
ing all the time that the Magus was king, and 
while the seven were conspiring, they had 
profited by the troubles, and had made them- 
selves ready against a siege. And it happened 
somehow or other that no one perceived what 
they were doing. At last when the time came 
for rebelling openly, they did as follows: 
having first set apart their mothers, each man 
chose besides out of his whole household one 
woman, whomsoever he pleased; these alone 
were allowed to live, while all the rest were 
brought to one place and strangled. The wom- 
en chosen were kept to make bread for the 
men; while the others were strangled that they 
might not consume the stores. 

151. When tidings reached Darius of what 
had happened, he drew together all his power, 
and began the war by marching straight upon 
Babylon, and laying siege to the place. The 
Babylonians, however, cared not a whit for his 
siege. Mounting upon the battlements that 
crowned their walls, they insulted and jeered at 
Darius and his mighty host. One even shouted 
to them and said, "Why sit ye there, Persians? 
why do ye not go back to your homes? Till 
mules foal ye will not take our city." This was 
said by a Babylonian who thought that a mule 
would never foal. 

152. Now when a year and seven months 
had passed, Darius and his army were quite 
wearied out, finding that they could not any- 
how take the city. All stratagems and all arts 



[BOOK in 

had been used, and yet the king could not pre- 
vail no t even when he tried the means by 
which Cyrus made himself master of the place. 
The Babylonians were ever upon the watch, 
and he found no way of conquering them. 

153. At last, in the twentieth month, a mar- 
vellous thing happened to Zopyrus, son of the 
Megabyzus who was among the seven men 
that overthrew the Magus. One of his sumpter- 
mules gave birth to a foal. Zopyrus, when they 
told him, not thinking that it could be true, 
went and saw the colt with his own eyes; after 
which he commanded his servants to tell no 
one what had come to pass, while he himself 
pondered the matter. Calling to mind then the 
words of the Babylonian at the beginning of 
the siege, "Till mules foal ye shall not take our 
city" he thought, as he reflected on this 
speech, that Babylon might now be taken. For 
it seemed to him that there was a Divine Prov- 
idence in the man having used the phrase, and 
then his mule having foaled. 

154. As soon therefore as he felt within him- 
self that Babylon was fated to be taken, he 
went to Darius and asked him if he set a very 
high value on its conquest. When he found 
that Darius did indeed value it highly, he con- 
sidered further with himself how he might 
make the deed his own, and be the man to take 
Babylon. Noble exploits in Persia are ever 
highly honoured and bring their authors to 
greatness. He therefore reviewed all ways of 
bringing the city under, but found none by 
which he could hope to prevail, unless he 
maimed himself and then went over to the 
enemy. To do this seeming to him a light mat- 
ter, he mutilated himself in a way that was 
utterly without remedy. For he cut oft his own 
nose and ears, and then, clipping his hair close 
and flogging himself with a scourge, he came 
in this plight before Darius. 

155. Wrath stirred within the king at the 
sight of a man of his lofty rank in such a con- 
3hion; leaping down from his throne, he ex- 
claimed aloud, and asked Zopyrus who it was 
that had disfigured him, and what he had done 
to be so treated. Zopyrus answered, "There is 
not a man in the world, but thou, O king, that 
could reduce me to such a plight no strang- 
er's hands have wrought this work on me, but 
my own only. I maimed myself because I could 
not endure that the Assyrians should laugh at 
the Persians." "Wretched man," said Darius, 
"thou coverest the foulest deed with the fairest 
possible name, when thou sayest thy maiming 
is to help our siege forward. How will thy dis- 

figurement, thou simpleton, induce the enemy 
to yield one day the sooner? Surely thou hadst 
gone out of thy mind when thou didst so mis- 
use thyself." "Had I told thee," rejoined the 
other, "what I was bent on doing, thou would- 
est not have suffered it; as it is, I kept my own 
counsel, and so accomplished my plans. Now, 
therefore, if there be no failure on thy part, we 
shall take Babylon. I will desert to the enemy 
as I am, and when I get into their city I will 
tell them that it is by thee I have been thus 
treated. I think they will believe my words, 
and entrust me with a command of troops. 
Thou, on thy part, must wait till the tenth day 
after I am entered within the town, and then 
place near to the gates of Semiramis a detach- 
ment of thy army, troops for whose loss thou 
wilt care little, a thousand men. Wait, after 
that, seven days, and post me another detach- 
ment, two thousand strong, at the Nineveh 
gates; then let twenty days pass, and at the end 
of that time station near the Chaldaean gates 
a body of four thousand. Let neither these nor 
the former troops be armed with any weapons 
but their swords those thou mayest leave 
them. After the twenty days are over, bid thy 
whole army attack the city on every side, and 
put me two bodies of Persians, one at the Be- 
lian, the other at the Cissian gates; for I expect, 
that, on account of my successes, the Baby- 
lonians will entrust everything, even the keys 
of their gates, to me. Then it will be for me 
and my Persians to do the rest." 

156. Having left these instructions, Zopyrus 
fled towards the gates of the town, often look- 
ing back, to give himself the air of a deserter. 
The men upon the towers, whose business it 
was to keep a lookout, observing him, has- 
tened down, and setting one of the gates slight- 
ly ajar, questioned him who he was, and on 
what errand he had come. He replied that he 
was Zopyrus, and had deserted to them from 
the Persians. Then the doorkeepers, when they 
heard this, carried him at once before the Mag- 
istrates. Introduced into the assembly, he be- 
gan to bewail his misfortunes, telling them 
that Darius had maltreated him in the way 
they could see, only because he had given ad- 
vice that the siege should be raised, since there 
seemed no hope of taking the city. "And now," 
he went on to say, "my coming to you, Baby- 
lonians, will prove the greatest gain that you 
could possibly receive, while to Darius and the 
Persians it will be the severest loss. Verily he 
by whom I have been so mutilated shall not 
escape unpunished. And truly all the paths of 




his counsels are known to me." Thus did Zopy- 
rus speak. 

157. The Babylonians, seeing a Persian of 
such exalted rank in so grievous a plight, his 
nose and ears cut off, his body red with marks 
of scourging and with blood, had no suspicion 
but that he spoke the truth, and was really 
come to be their friend and helper. They were 
ready, therefore, to grant him anything that he 
asked; and on his suing for a command, they 
entrusted to him a body of troops, with the help 
of which he proceeded to do as he had ar- 
ranged with Darius. On the tenth day after his 
flight he led out his detachment, and surround- 
ing the thousand men, whom Darius accord- 
ing to agreement had sent first, he fell upon 
them and slew them all. Then the Babylonians, 
seeing that his deeds were as brave as his 
words, were beyond measure pleased, and set 
no bounds to their trust. He waited, however, 
and when the next period agreed on had 
elapsed, again with a band of picked men he 
sallied forth, and slaughtered the two thou- 
sand. After this second exploit, his praise was 
in all mouths. Once more, however, he waited 
till the interval appointed had gone by, and 
then leading the troops to the place where the 
four thousand were, he put them also to the 
sword. This last victory gave the finishing 
stroke to his power, and made him all in all 
with the Babylonians: accordingly they com- 
mitted to him the command of their whole 
army, and put the keys of their city into his 

158. Darius now, still keeping to the plan 
agreed upon, attacked the walls on every side, 
whereupon Zopyrus played out the remainder 
of his stratagem. While the Babylonians, 
crowding to the walls, did their best to resist 
the Persian assault, he threw open the Cissian 
and the Belian gates, and admitted the enemy. 

Such of the Babylonians as witnessed the 
treachery, took refuge in the temple of Jupiter 
Belus; the rest, who did not see it, kept at their 
posts, till at last they too learnt that they were 

159. Thus was Babylon taken for the sec- 
ond time. Darius having become master of the 
place, destroyed the wall, and tore down all the 
gates; for Cyrus had done neither the one nor 
the other when he took Babylon. He then chose 
out near three thousand of the leading citizens, 
and caused them to be crucified, while he al- 
lowed the remainder still to inhabit the city. 
Further, wishing to prevent the race of the 
Babylonians from becoming extinct, he provid- 
ed wives for them in the room of those whom 
(as I explained before) they strangled, to save 
their stores. These he levied from the nations 
bordering on Babylonia, who were each re- 
quired to send so large a number to Babylon, 
that in all there were collected no fewer than 
fifty thousand. It is from these women that the 
Babylonians of our times are sprung. 

1 60. As for Zopyrus, he was considered by 
Darius to have surpassed, in the greatness of 
his achievements, all other Persians, whether of 
former or of later times, except only Cyrus 
with whom no Persian ever yet thought him- 
self worthy to compare. Darius, as the story 
goes, would often say that "he had rather Zopy- 
rus were unmaimed, than be master of twen- 
ty more Babylons." And he honoured Zopyrus 
greatly; year by year he presented him with all 
the gifts which are held in most esteem among 
the Persians; he gave him likewise the govern- 
ment of Babylon for his life, free from tribute; 
and he also granted him many other favours. 
Megabyzus, who held the command in Egypt 
against the Athenians and their allies, was a son 
of this Zopyrus. And Zopyrus, who fled from 
Persia to Athens, was a son of this Megabyzus. 

The Fourth Book, Entitled 

i. After the taking of Babylon, an expedition 
was led by Darius into Scythia. Asia abound- 
ing in men, and vast sums flowing into the 
treasury, the desire seized him to exact ven- 
geance from the Scyths, who had once in days 
gone by invaded Media, defeated those who 
met them in the field, and so begun the quarrel. 
During the space of eight-and-twenty years, as 
I have before mentioned, the Scyths continued 
lords of the whole of Upper Asia. They en- 
tered Asia in pursuit of the Cimmerians, and 
overthrew the empire of the Medes, who till 
they came possessed the sovereignty. On their 
return to their homes after the long absence of 
twenty-eight years, a task awaited them little 
less troublesome than their struggle with the 
Medes. They found an army of no small size 
prepared to oppose their entrance. For the 
Scythian women, when they saw that time 
went on, and their husbands did not come 
back, had intermarried with their slaves. 

2. Now the Scythians blind all their slaves, 
to use them in preparing their milk. The plan 
they follow is to thrust tubes made of bone, not 
unlike our musical pipes, up the vulva of the 
mare, and then to blow into the tubes with 
their mouths, some milking while the others 
blow. They say that they do this because when 
the veins of the animal are full of air, the udder 
is forced down. The milk thus obtained is 
poured into deep wooden casks, about which 
the blind slaves are placed, and then the milk 
is stirred round. That which rises to the top is 
drawn off, and considered the best part; the 
under portion is of less account. Such is the rea- 
son why the Scythians blind all those whom 
they take in war; it arises from their not being 
tillers of the ground, but a pastoral race. 

3. When therefore the children sprung from 
fhese slaves and the Scythian women grew to 
manhood, and understood the circumstances of 
their birth, they resolved to oppose the army 


which was returning from Media. And, first of 
all, they cut off a tract of country from the rest 
of Scythia by digging a broad dyke from the 
Tauric mountains to the vast lake of the Maeo- 
tis. Afterwards, when the Scythians tried to 
force an entrance, they marched out and en- 
gaged them. Many battles were fought, and 
the Scythians gained no advantage, until at last 
one of them thus addressed the remainder: 
"What are we doing, Scythians? We are fight- 
ing our slaves, diminishing our own number 
when we fall, and the number of those that be- 
long to us when they fall by our hands. Take 
my advice lay spear and bow aside, and let 
each man fetch his horsewhip, and go boldly 
up to them. So long as they see us with arms 
in our hands, they imagine themselves our 
equals in birth and bravery; but let them be- 
hold us with no other weapon but the whip, 
and they will feel that they are our slaves, and 
flee before us." 

4. The Scythians followed this counsel, and 
the slaves were so astounded, that they forgot 
to fight, and immediately ran away. Such was 
the mode in which the Scythians, after being 
for a time the lords of Asia, and being forced 
to quit it by the Medes, returned and settled in 
their own country. This inroad of theirs it was 
that Darius was anxious to avenge, and such 
was the purpose for which he was now col- 
lecting an army to invade them. 

5. According to the account which the 
Scythians themselves give, they are the young- 
est of all nations. Their tradition is as follows. 
A certain Targitaiis was the first man who ever 
lived in their country, which before his time 
was a desert without inhabitants. He was a 
child I do not believe the tale, but it is told 
nevertheless of Jove and a daughter of the 
Borysthenes. Targitaiis, thus descended, begat 
three sons, Leipoxais, Arpoxais, and Colaxais, 
who was the youngest born of the three. While 



they still ruled the land, there fell from the 
sky four implements, all of gold a plough, a 
yoke, a battle-axe, and a drinking-cup. The 
eldest of the brothers perceived them first, and 
approached to pick them up; when lo! as he 
came near, the gold took fire, and blazed. He 
therefore went his way, and the second com- 
ing forward made the attempt, but the same 
thing happened again. The gold rejected both 
the eldest and the second brother. Last of all 
the youngest brother approached, and immedi- 
ately the flames were extinguished; so he 
picked up the gold, and carried it to his home. 
Then the two elder agreed together, and made 
the whole kingdom over to the youngest born. 

6. From Leipoxais sprang the Scythians of 
the race called Auchatar, from Arpoxais, the 
middle brother, those known as the Catiari 
and Traspians; from Colaxais, the youngest, 
the Royal Scythians, or Paralatae. All together 
they are named Scoloti, after one of their 
kings: the Greeks, however, call them Scythi- 

7. Such is the account which the Scythians 
give of their origin. They add that from the 
time of Targitaiis, their first king, to the inva- 
sion of their country by Darius, is a period of 
one thousand years, neither less nor more. The 
Royal Scythians guard the sacred gold with 
most especial care, and year by year offer great 
sacrifices in its honour. At this feast, if the man 
who has the custody of the gold should fall 
asleep in the open air, he is sure (the Scythians 
say) not to outlive the year. His pay therefore 
is as much land as he can ride round on horse- 
back in a day. As the extent of Scythia is very 
great, Colaxais gave each of his three sons a 
separate kingdom, one of which was of ampler 
size than the other two: in this the gold was 
preserved. Above, to the northward of the far- 
thest dwellers in Scythia, the country is said to 
be concealed from sight and made impassable 
by reason of the feathers which are shed abroad 
abundantly. The earth and air are alike full of 
them, and this it is which prevents the eye 
from obtaining any view of the region. 

8. Such is the account which the Scythians 
give of themselves, and of the country which 
lies above them. The Greeks who dwell about 
the Pontus tell a different story. According to 
them, Hercules, when he was carrying of? the 
cows of Geryon, arrived in the region which is 
now inhabited by the Scyths, but which was 
then a desert. Geryon lived outside the Pontus, 
in an island called by the Greeks Erytheia, 
near Gadcs, which is beyond the Pillars of Her- 

cules upon the Ocean. Now some say that the 
Ocean begins in the east, and runs the whole 
way round the world; but they give no proof 
that this is really so. Hercules came from 
thence into the region now called Scythia, and, 
being overtaken by storm and frost, drew his 
lion's skin about him, and fell fast asleep. 
While he slept, his mares, which he had loosed 
from his chariot to graze, by some wonderful 
chance disappeared. 

9. On waking, he went in quest of them, 
and, after wandering over the whole country, 
came at last to the district called "the Wood- 
land," where he found in a cave a strange be- 
ing, between a maiden and a serpent, whose 
form from the waist upwards was like that of 
a woman, while all below was like a snake. He 
looked at her wonderingly; but nevertheless 
inquired, whether she had chanced to see his 
strayed mares anywhere. She answered him, 
"Yes, and they were now in her keeping; but 
never would she consent to give them back, un- 
less he took her for his mistress." So Hercules, 
to get his mares back, agreed; but afterwards 
she put him ofT and delayed restoring the 
mares, since she wished to keep him with her 
as long as possible. He, on the other hand, was 
only anxious to secure them and to get away. 
At last, when she gave them up, she said to 
him, "When thy mares strayed hither, it was 
I who saved them [or thee: now thou hast paid 
their salvage; for lo! I bear in my womb three 
sons of thine. Tell me therefore when thy sons 
grow up, what must I do with them? Wouldst 
thou wish that I should settle them here in this 
land, whereof I am mistress, or shall I send 
them to thee?" Thus questioned, they say, 
Hercules answered, "When the lads have 
grown to manhood, do thus, and assuredly 
thou wilt not err. Watch them, and when thou 
seest one of them bend this bow as I now bend 
it, and gird himself with this girdle thus, 
choose him to remain in the land. Those who 
fail in the trial, send away. Thus wilt thou at 
once please thyself and obey me." 

10. Hereupon he strung one of his bows 
up to that time he had carried two and 
showed her how to fasten the belt. Then he 
gave both bow and belt into her hands. Now 
the belt had a golden goblet attached to its 
clasp. So after he had given them to her, he 
went his way; and the woman, when her chil- 
dren grew to manhood, first gave them sever- 
ally their names. One she called Agathyrsus, 
one Gelonus, and the other, who was the 
youngest, Scythes. Then she remembered the 



instructions she had received from Hercules, 
and, in obedience to his orders, she put her 
sons to the test. Two of them, Agathyrsus and 
Gelonus, proving unequal to the task enjoined, 
their mother sent them out of the land; Scyth- 
es, the youngest, succeeded, and so he was al- 
lowed to remain. From Scythes, the son of Her- 
cules, were descended the after kings of Scyth- 
ia; and from the circumstance of the goblet 
which hung from the belt, the Scythians to 
this day wear goblets at their girdles. This was 
the only thing which the mother of Scythes did 
for him. Such is the tale told by the Greeks 
who dwell around the Pontus. 

11. There is also another different story, 
now to be related, in which I am more inclined 
to put faith than in any other. It is that the 
wandering Scythians once dwelt in Asia, and 
there warred with the Massagetae, but with ill 
success; they therefore quitted their homes, 
crossed the Araxes, and entered the land of 
Cimmena. For the land which is now inhabit- 
ed by the Scyths was formerly the country of 
the Cimmerians. On their coming, the natives, 
who heard how numerous the invading army 
was, held a council. At this meeting opinion 
was divided, and both parties stiffly main- 
tained their own view; but the counsel of the 
Royal tribe was the braver. For the others 
urged that the best thing to be done was to 
leave the country, and avoid a contest with so 
vast a host; but the Royal tribe advised remain- 
ing and fighting for the soil to the last. As 
neither party chose to give way, the one de- 
termined to retire without a blow and yield 
their lands to the invaders; but the other, re- 
membering the good things which they had 
enjoyed in their homes, and picturing to them- 
selves the evils which they had to expect if 
they gave them up, resolved not to flee, but 
rather to die and at least be buried in their 
fatherland. Having thus decided, they drew 
apart in two bodies, the one as numerous as the 
other, and fought together. All of the Royal 
tribe were slain, and the people buried them 
near the river Tyras, where their grave is still 
to be seen. Then the rest of the Cimmerians de- 
parted, and the Scythians, on their coming, 
took possession of a deserted land. 

12. Scythia still retains traces of the Cim- 
merians; there are Cimmerian castles, and a 
Cimmerian ferry, also a tract called Cimmeria, 
and a Cimmerian Bosphorus. It appears like- 
wise that the Cimmerians, when they fled into 
Asia to escape the Scyths, made a settlement 
in the peninsula where the Greek city of Si- 

[ BOOK iv 

nope was afterwards built. The Scyths, it is 
plain, pursued them, and missing their road, 
poured into Media. For the Cimmerians kept 
the line which led along the sea-shore, but the 
Scyths in their pursuit held the Caucasus upon 
their right, thus proceeding inland, and falling 
upon Media. This account is one which is com- 
mon both to Greeks and barbarians. 

13. Aristeas also, son of Caystrobius, a na- 
tive of Proconnesus, says in the course of his 
poem that wrapt in Bacchic fury he went as far 
as the Issedones. Above them dwelt the Ari- 
maspi, men with one eye; still further, the 
gold-guarding griffins; and beyond these, the 
Hyperboreans, who extended to the sea. Ex- 
cept the Hyperboreans, all these nations, be- 
ginning with the Arimaspi, were continually 
encroaching upon their neighbours. Hence it 
came to pass that the Arimaspi drove the Issedo- 
nians from their country, while the Issedonians 
dispossessed the Scyths; and the Scyths, pressing 
upon the Cimmerians, who dwelt on the shores 
of the Southern Sea, forced them to leave their 
land. Thus even Aristeas does not agree in his 
account of this region with the Scythians, 

14. The birthplace of Aristeas, the poet who 
sung of these things, I have already mentioned. 
I will now relate a tale which I heard concern- 
ing him both at Proconnesus and at Cyzicus. 
Aristeas, they said, who belonged to one of the 
noblest families in the island, had entered one 
day into a fuller's shop, when he suddenly 
dropt down dead. Hereupon the fuller shut up 
his shop, and went to tell Aristeas' kindred 
what had happened. The report of the death 
had just spread through the town, when a cer- 
tain Cyzicenian, lately arrived from Artaca, 
contradicted the rumour, affirming that he had 
met Aristeas on his road to Cyzicus, and had 
spoken with him. This man, therefore, strenu- 
ously denied the rumour; the relations, how- 
ever, proceeded to the fuller's shop with all 
things necessary for the funeral, intending to 
carry the body away. But on the shop being 
opened, no Aristeas was found, either dead or 
alive. Seven years afterwards he reappeared, 
they told me, in Proconnesus, and wrote the 
poem called by the Greeks The Arimaspeia, 
after which he disappeared a second time. 
This is the tale current in the two cities above- 

15. What follows I know to have happened 
to the Metapontines of Italy, three hundred 
and forty years 1 after the second disappear- 

1 This date must certainly be wrong. The date 
usually assigned to Aristeas is about 580 B.C. 




ance of Aristeas, as I collect by comparing the 
accounts given me at Proconnesus and Meta- 
pontum. Aristeas then, as the Metapontines 
affirm, appeared to them in their own country, 
and ordered them to set up an altar in honour 
of Apollo, and to place near it a statue to be 
called that of Aristeas the Proconnesian. "Apol- 
lo," he told them, "had come to their coun- 
try once, though he had visited no other Itali- 
ots; and he had been with Apollo at the time, 
not however in his present form, but in the 
shape of a crow." Having said so much, he 
vanished. Then the Metapontines, as they re- 
late, sent to Delphi, and inquired of the god 
in what light they were to regard the appear- 
ance of this ghost of a man. The Pythoness, in 
reply, bade them attend to what the spectre 
said, "for so it would go best with them." Thus 
advised, they did as they had been directed: 
and there is now a statue bearing the name of 
Aristeas, close by the image of Apollo in the 
market-place of Metapontum, with bay-trees 
standing around it. But enough has been said 
concerning Aristeas. 

1 6. With regard to the regions which lie 
above the country whereof this portion of my 
history treats, there is no one who possesses any 
exact knowledge. Not a single person can I 
find who professes to be acquainted with them 
by actual observation. Even Aristeas, the trav- 
eller of whom I lately spoke, does not claim 
and he is writing poetry to have reached any 
farther than the Issedonians. What he relates 
concerning the regions beyond is, he confesses, 
mere hearsay, being the account which the Is- 
sedonians gave him of those countries. How- 
ever, I shall proceed to mention all that I have 
learnt of these parts by the most exact inquiries 
which I have been able to make concerning 

17. Above the mart of the Borysthenites, 
which is situated in the very centre of the 
whole sea-coast of Scythia, the first people who 
inhabit the land are the Callipedae, a Graeco- 
Scythic race. Next to them, as you go inland, 
dwell the people called the Alazonians. These 
two nations in other respects resemble the 
Scythians in their usages, but sow and eat corn, 
also onions, garlic, lentils, and millet. Beyond 
the Alazonians reside Scythian cultivators, 
who grow corn, not for their own use, but for 
sale. Still higher up are the Neuri. Northwards 
of the Neuri the continent, as far as it is known 
to us, is uninhabited. These are the nations 
along the course of the river Hypanis, west of 
the Borysthenes. 

1 8. Across the Borysthenes, the first country 
after you leave the coast is Hylaea (the Wood- 
land). Above this dwell the Scythian Husband- 
men, whom the Greeks living near the Hy- 
panis call Borysthenites, while they call them- 
selves Olbiopolites. These Husbandmen extend 
eastward a distance of three days' journey to a 
river bearing the name of Panticapes, while 
northward the country is theirs for eleven days* 
sail up the course of the Borysthenes. Further 
inland there is a vast tract which is uninhabit- 
ed. Above this desolate region dwell the Can- 
nibals, who are a people apart, much unlike the 
Scythians. Above them the country becomes an 
utter desert; not a single tribe, so far as we 
know, inhabits it. 

19. Crossing the Panticapes, and proceeding 
eastward of the Husbandmen, we come upon 
the wandering Scythians, who neither plough 
nor sow. Their country, and the whole of this 
region, except Hylaea, is quite bare of trees. 
They extend towards the east a distance of 
fourteen 1 days' journey, occupying a tract 
which reaches to the river Gerrhus. 

20. On the opposite side of the Gerrhus is 
the Royal district, as it is called: here dwells the 
largest and bravest of the Scythian tribes, 
which looks upon all the other tribes in the 
light of slaves. Its country reaches on the south 
to Taurica, on the east to the trench dug by the 
sons of the blind slaves, the mart upon the 
Palus Maeotis, called Cremni (the Cliffs), and 
in part to the river Tanais. North of the country 
of the Royal Scythians are the Melanchlaeni 
(Black-Robes), a people of quite a different 
race from the Scythians. Beyond them lie 
marshes and a region without inhabitants, so 
far as our knowledge reaches. 

21. When one crosses the Tanais, one is no 
longer in Scythia; the first region on crossing 
is that of the Sauromatae, who, beginning at 
the upper end of the Palus Maeotis, stretch 
northward a distance of fifteen days' journey, 
inhabiting a country which is entirely bare of 
trees, whether wild or cultivated. Above them, 
possessing the second region, dwell the Budini, 
whose territory is thickly wooded with trees of 
every kind. 

22. Beyond the Budini, as one goes north- 
ward, first there is a desert, seven days' journey 
across; after which, if one inclines somewhat 
to the east, the Thyssagetae are reached, a nu- 

1 Rennell proposes to read "four days' journey" 
and indeed without some such alteration the ge- 
ography of this part of Scythia is utterly inexplica- 



mcrous nation quite distinct from any other, 
and living by the chase. Adjoining them, and 
within the limits of the same region, are the 
people who bear the name of lyrcae; they also 
support themselves by hunting, which they 
practise in the following manner. The hunter 
climbs a tree, the whole country abounding in 
wood, and there sets himself in ambush; he 
has a dog at hand, and a horse, trained to lie 
down upon its belly, and thus make itself low; 
the hunter keeps watch, and when he sees his 
game, lets fly an arrow; then mounting his 
horse, he gives the beast chase, his dog follow- 
ing hard all the while. Beyond these people, a 
little to the east, dwells a distinct tribe of 
Scyths, who revolted once from the Royal 
Scythians, and migrated into these parts. 

23. As far as their country, the tract of land 
whereof I have been speaking is all a smooth 
plain, and the soil deep; beyond you enter on 
a region which is rugged and stony. Passing 
over a great extent of this rough country, you 
come to a people dwelling at the foot of lofty 
mountains, who are said to be all both men 
and women bald from their birth, to have 
flat noses, and very long chins. These people 
speak a language of their own, but the dress 
which they wear is the same as the Scythian. 
They live on the fruit of a certain tree, the 
name of which is Ponticum; in size it is about 
equal to our fig-tree, and it bears a fruit like a 
bean, with a stone inside. When the fruit is 
ripe, they strain it through cloths; the juice 
which runs off is black and thick, and is called 
by the natives "aschy." They lap this up with 
their tongues, and also mix it with milk for a 
drink; while they make the lees, which are sol- 
id, into cakes, and eat them instead of meat; 
for they have but few sheep in their country, 
in which there is no good pasturage. Each of 
them dwells under a tree, and they cover the 
tree in winter with a cloth of thick white felt, 
but take off the covering in the summer-time. 
No one harms these people, for they are looked 
upon as sacred they do not even possess any 
warlike weapons. When their neighbours fall 
out, they make up the quarrel; and when one 
flies to them for refuge, he is safe from all hurt. 
They are called the Argippacans. 

24. Up to this point the territory of which 
we are speaking is very completely explored, 
and all the nations between the coast and the 
bald-headed men are well known to us. For 
some of the Scythians are accustomed to pene- 
trate as far, of whom inquiry may easily be 
made, and Greeks also go there from the mart 

[BooK IV 

on the Borysthenes, and from the other marts 
along the Euxine. The Scythians who make 
this journey communicate with the inhabitants 
by means of seven interpreters and seven lan- 

25. Thus far, therefore, the land is known; 
but beyond the bald-headed men lies a region 
of which no one can give any exact account. 
Lofty and precipitous mountains, which are 
never crossed, bar further progress. The bald 
men say, but it does not seem to me credible, 
that the people who live in these mountains 
have feet like goats; and that after passing them 
you find another race of men, who sleep dur- 
ing one half of the year. This latter statement 
appears to me quite unworthy of credit. The 
region east of the bald-headed men is well 
known to be inhabited by the Issedonians, but 
the tract that lies to the north of these two na- 
tions is entirely unknown, except by the ac- 
counts which they give of it. 

26. The Issedonians are said to have the fol- 
lowing customs. When a man's father dies, all 
the near relatives bring sheep to the house; 
which are sacrificed, and their flesh cut in 
pieces, while at the same time the dead body 
undergoes the like treatment. The two sorts of 
flesh are afterwards mixed together, and the 
whole is served up at a banquet. The head of 
the dead man is treated differently: it is 
stripped bare, cleansed, and set in gold. It then 
becomes an ornament on which they pride 
themselves, and is brought out year by year at 
the great festival which sons keep in honour 
of their fathers' death, just as the Greeks keep 
their Genesia. In other respects the Issedonians 
are reputed to be observers of justice: and it is 
to be remarked that their women have equal 
authority with the men. Thus our knowledge 
extends as far as this nation. 

27. The regions beyond are known only 
from the accounts of the Issedonians, by whom 
the stories are told of the one-eyed race of men 
and the gold-guarding griffins. These stories 
are received by the Scythians from the Issedo- 
nians, and by them passed on to us Greeks: 
whence it arises that we give the one-eyed race 
the Scythian name of Arimaspi, "arima" being 
the Scythic word for "one," and "spu" for "the 

28. The whole district whereof we have here 
discoursed has winters of exceeding rigour. 
During eight months the frost is so intense 
that water poured upon the ground does not 
form mud, but if a fire be lighted on it mud is 
produced. The sea freezes, and the Cimmer- 




ian Bosphorus is frozen over. At that season 
the Scythians who dwell inside the trench 
make warlike expeditions upon the ice, and 
even drive their waggons across to the country 
of the Sindians. Such is the intensity of the 
cold during eight months out of the twelve; 
and even in the remaining four the climate is 
still cool. The character of the winter likewise 
is unlike that of the same season in any other 
country; for at that time, when the rains ought 
to fall in Scythia, there is scarcely any rain 
worth mentioning, while in summer it never 
gives over raining; and thunder, which else- 
where is frequent then, in Scythia is unknown 
in that part of the year, coming only in sum- 
mer, when it is very heavy. Thunder in the 
winter-time is there accounted a prodigy; as 
also are earthquakes, whether they happen in 
winter or summer. Horses bear the winter 
well, cold as it is, but mules and asses are quite 
unable to bear it; whereas in other countries 
mules and asses are found to endure the cold, 
while horses, if they stand still, are frost-bitten. 

29. To me it seems that the cold may like- 
wise be the cause which prevents the oxen in 
Scythia from having horns. There is a line of 
Homer's in the Odyssey which gives a support 
to my opinion: 

Libya too, where horns bud quic\ on the fore- 
heads of lambkins. 1 

He means to say what is quite true, that in 
warm countries the horns come early. So too 
in countries where the cold is severe animals 
either have no horns, or grow them with diffi- 
culty the cold being the cause in this in- 

30. Here I must express my wonder addi- 
tions being what my work always from the 
very first affected that in Elis, where the cold 
is not remarkable, and there is nothing else to 
account for it, mules are never produced. The 
Eleans say it is in consequence of a curse; and 
their habit is, when the breeding-time comes, 
to take their mares into one of the adjoining 
countries, and there keep them till they are in 
foal, when they bring them back again into Elis. 

31. With respect to the feathers which are 
said by the Scythians to fill the air, and to pre- 
vent persons from penetrating into the remoter 
parts of the continent, or even having any view 
of those regions, my opinion is that in the 
countries above Scythia it always snows less, 
of course, in the summer than in the winter- 
time. Now snow when it falls looks like feath- 

1 Odyssey, Bk. iv. 85. 

ers, as every one is aware who has seen it come 
down close to him. These northern regions, 
therefore, are uninhabitable by reason of the 
severity of the winter; and the Scythians, with 
their neighbours, call the snow-flakes feathers 
because, I think, of the likeness which they 
bear to them. I have now related what is said 
of the most distant parts of this continent 
whereof any account is given. 

32. Of the Hyperboreans nothing is said 
either by the Scythians or by any of the other 
dwellers in these regions, unless it be the Is- 
sedonians. But in my opinion, even the Issedo- 
nians are silent concerning them; otherwise 
the Scythians would have repeated their state- 
ments, as they do those concerning the one- 
eyed men. Hesiod, however, mentions them, 
and Homer also in the Epigoni, if that be real- 
ly a work of his. 

33. But the persons who have by far the 
most to say on this subject are the Delians. 
They declare that certain offerings, packed in 
wheaten straw, were brought from the country 
of the Hyperboreans into Scythia, and that the 
Scythians received them and passed them on 
to their neighbours upon the west, who con- 
tinued to pass them on until at last they reached 
the Adriatic. From hence they were sent south- 
ward, and when they came to Greece, were re- 
ceived first of all by the Dodonaeans. Thence 
they descended to the Maliac Gulf, from which 
they were carried across into Euboea, where the 
people handed them on from city to city, till 
they came at length to Carystus. The Carys- 
tians took them over to Tenos, without stop- 
ping at Andros; and the Tenians brought them 
finally to Delos. Such, according to their own 
account, was the road by which the offerings 
reached the Delians. Two damsels, they say, 
named Hyperoche' and Laodice, brought the 
first offerings from the Hyperboreans; and 
with them the Hyperboreans sent five men to 
keep them from all harm by the way; these are 
the persons whom the Delians call "Perpher- 
ees," and to whom great honours are paid at 
Delos. Afterwards the Hyperboreans, when 
they found that their messengers did not re- 
turn, thinking it would be a grievous thing al- 
ways to be liable to lose the envoys they should 
send, adopted the following plan: they 
wrapped their offerings in the wheaten straw, 
and bearing them to their borders, charged 
their neighbours to send them forward from 
one nation to another, which was done accord- 
ingly, and in this way the offerings reached 
Delos. I myself know of a practice like this, 



which obtains with the women of Thrace and 
Paeonia. They in their sacrifices to the queenly 
Diana bring wheaten straw always with their 
offerings. Of my own knowledge I can testify 
that this is so. 

34. The damsels sent by the Hyperboreans 
died in Delos; and in their honour all the Deli- 
an girls and youths are wont to cut off their 
hair. The girls, before their marriage-day, cut 
off a curl, and twining it round a distaff, lay 
it upon the grave of the strangers. This grave 
is on the left as one enters the precinct of Di- 
ana, and has an olive-tree growing on it. The 
youths wind some of their hair round a kind of 
grass, and, like the girls, place it upon the 
tomb. Such are the honours paid to these dam- 
sels by the Delians. 

35. They add that, once before, there came 
to Delos by the same road as Hyperoch and 
Laodice, two other virgins from the Hyper- 
boreans, whose names were Arg and Opis. 
Hyperoche and Laodice came to bring to Ili- 
thyia the offering which they had laid upon 
themselves, in acknowledgment of their 
quick labours; but Arge* and Opis came at the 
same time as the gods of Delos, 1 and are hon- 
oured by the Delians in a different way. For 
the Delian women make collections in these 
maidens' names, and invoke them in the hymn 
which Olen, a Lycian, composed for them; and 
the rest of the islanders, and even the lonians, 
have been taught by the Delians to do the like. 
This Olen, who came from Lycia, made the 
other old hymns also which are sung in Delos. 
The Delians add that the ashes from the 
thigh-bones burnt upon the altar are scattered 
over the tomb of Opis and Arge. Their tomb 
lies behind the temple of Diana, facing the 
east, near the banqueting-hall of the Ceians. 
Thus much then, and no more, concerning the 

36. As for the tale of Abaris, who is said to 
have been a Hyperborean, and to have gone 
with his arrow all round the world without 
once eating, I shall pass it by in silence. Thus 
much, however, is clear: if there are Hyperbor- 
eans, there must also be Hypernotians. For my 
part, I cannot but laugh when I see numbers 
of persons drawing maps of the world without 
having any reason to guide them; making, as 
they do, the ocean-stream to run all round the 
earth, and the earth itself to be an exact circle, 
as if described by a pair of compasses, with 
Europe and Asia just of the same size. The 
truth in this matter I will now proceed to ex- 

1 Apollo and Diana. 

[BOOK rv 

plain in a very few words, making it clear what 
the real size of each region is, and what shape 
should be given them. 

37. The Persians inhabit a country upon the 
southern or Erythraean sea; above them, to the 
north, are the Medes; beyond the Medes, the 
Saspirians; beyond them, the Colchians, reach- 
ing to the northern sea, into which the Phasis 
empties itself. These four nations fill the whole 
space from one sea to the other. 

38. West of these nations there project into 
the sea two tracts which I will now describe; 
one, beginning at the river Phasis on the north, 
stretches along the Euxine and the Hellespont 
to Sigeum in the Troas; while on the south it 
reaches from the Myriandrian gulf, which ad- 
joins Phoenicia, to the Triopic promontory. 
This is one of the tracts, and is inhabited by 
thirty different nations. 

39. The other starts from the country of the 
Persians, and stretches into the Erythraean sea, 
containing first Persia, then Assyria, and after 
Assyria, Arabia. It ends, that is to say, it is con- 
sidered to end, though it does not really come 
to a termination, at the Arabian gulf the gulf 
whereinto Darius conducted the canal which 
he made from the Nile. Between Persia and 
Phoenicia lies a broad and ample tract of coun- 
try, after which the region I am describing 
skirts our sea, stretching from Phoenicia along 
the coast of Palestine-Syria till it comes to 
Egypt, where it terminates. This entire tract 
contains but three nations. The whole of Asia 
west of the country of the Persians is com- 
prised in these two regions. 

40. Beyond the tract occupied by the Per- 
sians, Medes, Saspirians, and Colchians, to- 
wards the east and the region of the sunrise, 
Asia is bounded on the south by the Erythrae- 
an sea, and on the north by the Caspian and 
the river Araxes, which flows towards the ris- 
ing sun. Till you reach India the country is 
peopled; but further east it is void of inhabi- 
tants, and no one can say what sort of region 
it is. Such then is the shape, and such the size 
of Asia. 

41. Libya belongs to one of the above-men- 
tioned tracts, for it adjoins on Egypt. In Egypt 
the tract is at first a narrow neck, the distance 
from our sea to the Erythraean not exceeding a 
hundred thousand fathoms, or, in other words, 
a thousand furlongs; but from the point 
where the neck ends, the tract which bears the 
name of Libya is of very great breadth. 

42. For my part I am astonished that men 
should ever have divided Libya, Asia, and Eu- 




rope as they have, for they are exceedingly un- 
equal. Europe extends the entire length of the 
other two, and for breadth will not even (as I 
think) bear to be compared to them. As for 
Libya, we know it to be washed on all sides by 
the sea, except where it is attached to Asia. 
This discovery was first made by Necos, the 
Egyptian king, who on desisting from the 
canal which he had begun between the Nile 
and the Arabian gulf, sent to sea a number of 
ships manned by Phoenicians, with orders to 
make for the Pillars of Hercules, and return to 
Egypt through them, and by the Mediterran- 
ean. The Phoenicians took their departure 
from Egypt by way of the Erythraean sea, and 
so sailed into the southern ocean. When au- 
tumn came, they went ashore, wherever they 
might happen to be, and having sown a tract 
of land with corn, waited until the grain was 
fit to cut. Having reaped it, they again set sail; 
and thus it came to pass that two whole years 
went by, and it was not till the third year that 
they doubled the Pillars of Hercules, and made 
good their voyage home. On their return, they 
declared I for my part do not believe them, 
but perhaps others may that in sailing round 
Libya they had the sun upon their right hand. In 
this way was the extent of Libya first discovered. 
43. Next to these Phoenicians the Carthagin- 
ians, according to their own accounts, made 
the voyage. For Sataspes, son of Teaspes the 
Achaemenian, did not circumnavigate Libya, 
though he was sent to do so; but, fearing the 
length and desolateness of the journey, he 
turned back and left unaccomplished the task 
which had been set him by his mother. This 
man had used violence towards a maiden, the 
daughter of Zopyrus, son of Megabyzus, and 
King Xerxes was about to impale him for the 
offence, when his mother, who was a sister of 
Darius, begged him off, undertaking to punish 
his crime more heavily than the king himself 
had designed. She would force him, she said, to 
sail round Libya and return to Egypt by the 
Arabian gulf. Xerxes gave his consent; and 
Sataspes went down to Egypt, and there got a 
ship and crew, with which he set sail for the 
Pillars of Hercules. Having passed the Straits, 
he doubled the Libyan headland, known as 
Cape Soloeis, and proceeded southward. Fol- 
lowing this course for many months over a vast 
stretch of sea, and finding that more water 
than he had crossed still lay ever before him, 
he put about, and came back to Egypt. Thence 
proceeding to the court, he made report to 
Xerxes, that at the farthest point to which he 

had reached, the coast was occupied by a 
dwarfish race, who wore a dress made from the 
palm tree. These people, whenever he landed, 
left their towns and fled away to the moun- 
tains; his men, however, did them no wrong, 
only entering into their cities and taking some 
of their cattle. The reason why he had not 
sailed quite round Libya was, he said, because 
the ship stopped, and would no go any further. 
Xerxes, however, did not accept this account 
for true; and so Sataspes, as he had failed to ac- 
complish the task set him, was impaled by the 
king's orders in accordance with the former 
sentence. One of his eunuchs, on hearing of 
his death, ran away with a great portion of his 
wealth, and reached Samos, where a certain 
Samian seized the whole. I know the man's 
name well, but I shall willingly forget it here. 

44. Of the greater part of Asia Darius was 
the discoverer. Wishing to know where the 
Indus (which is the only river save one that 
produces crocodiles) emptied itself into the sea, 
he sent a number of men, on whose truthful- 
ness he could rely, and among them Scylax of 
Caryanda, to sail down the river. They started 
from the city of Caspatyrus, in the region 
called Pactyi'ca, and sailed down the stream in 
an easterly direction to the sea. Here they 
turned westward, and, after a voyage of thirty 
months, reached the place from which the 
Egyptian king, of whom I spoke above, sent 
the Phoenicians to sail round Libya. After this 
voyage was completed, Darius conquered the 
Indians, and made use of the sea in those parts. 
Thus all Asia, except the eastern portion, has 
been found to be similarly circumstanced with 

45. But the boundaries of Europe are quite 
unknown, and there is not a man who can say 
whether any sea girds it round cither on the 
north or on the east, while in length it un- 
doubtedly extends as far as both the other two. 
For my part I cannot conceive why three 
names, and women's names especially, should 
ever have been given to a tract which is in re- 
ality one, nor why the Egyptian Nile and the 
Colchian Phasis (or according to others the 
Maeotic Tanais and Cimmerian ferry) should 
have been fixed upon for the boundary lines; 
nor can I even say who gave the three tracts 
their names, or whence they took the epithets. 
According to the Greeks in general, Libya was 
so called after a certain Libya, a native woman, 
and Asia after the wife of Prometheus. The 
Lydians, however, put in a claim to the latter 
name, which, they declare, was not derived 


from Asia the wife of Prometheus, but from 
Asies, the son of Cotys, and grandson of 
Manes, who also gave name to the tribe Asias 
at Sardis. As for Europe, no one can say 
whether it is surrounded by the sea or not, 
neither is it known whence the name of Eu- 
rope was derived, nor who gave it name, un- 
less we say that Europe was so called after the 
Tyrian Europe, and before her time was name- 
less, like the other divisions. But it is certain 
that Europe* was an Asiatic, and never even set 
foot on the land which the Greeks now call 
Europe, only sailing from Phoenicia to Crete, 
and from Crete to Lycia. However let us quit 
these matters. We shall ourselves continue to 
use the names which custom sanctions. 

46. The Euxine sea, where Darius now went 
to war, has nations dwelling around it, with 
the one exception of the Scythians, more un- 
polished than those of any other region that we 
know of. For, setting aside Anacharsis and the 
Scythian people, there is not within this region 
a single nation which can be put forward as 
having any claims to wisdom, or which has 
produced a single person of any high repute. 
The Scythians indeed have in one respect, and 
that the very most important of all those that 
fall under man's control, shown themselves 
wiser than any nation upon the face of the 
earth. Their customs otherwise are not such as 
I admire. The one thing of which I speak is 
the contrivance whereby they make it impos- 
sible for the enemy who invades them to es- 
cape destruction, while they themselves are en- 
tirely out of his reach, unless it please them to 
engage with him. Having neither cities nor 
forts, and carrying their dwellings with them 
wherever they go; accustomed, moreover, one 
and all of them, to shoot from horseback; and 
living not by husbandry but on their cattle, 
their waggons the only houses that they pos- 
sess, how can they fail of being unconquerable, 
and unassailable even? 

47. The nature of their country, and the riv- 
ers by which it is intersected, greatly favour 
this mode of resisting attacks. For the land is 
level, well watered, and abounding in pasture; 
while the rivers which traverse it are almost 
equal in number to the canals of Egypt. Of 
these I shall only mention the most famous and 
such as are navigable to some distance from the 
sea. They are, the Ister, which has five mouths; 
the Tyras, the Hypanis, the Borysthenes, the 
Panticapes, the Hypacyris, the Gerrhus, and 
the Tanais. The courses of these streams I shall 
now proceed to describe. 

[BooK iv 

48. The Ister is of all the rivers with which 
we are acquainted the mightiest. It never var- 
ies in height, but continues at the same level 
summer and winter. Counting from the west 
it is the first of the Scythian rivers, and the 
reason of its being the greatest is that it re- 
ceives the water of several tributaries. Now the 
tributaries which swell its flood are the follow- 
ing: first, on the side of Scythia, these five 
the stream called by the Scythians Porata, and 
by the Greeks Pyretus, the Tiarantus, the 
Ararus, the Naparis, and the Ordessus. The 
first mentioned is a great stream, and is the 
easternmost of the tributaries. The Tiarantus 
is of less volume, and more to the west. The 
Ararus, Naparis, and Ordessus fall into the 
Ister between these two. All the above men- 
tioned are genuine Scythian rivers, and go to 
swell the current of the Ister. 

49. From the country of the Agathyrsi comes 
down another river, the Maris, which empties 
itself into the same; and from the heights of 
Haemus descend with a northern course three 
mighty streams, the Atlas, the Auras, and the 
Tibisis, and pour their waters into it. Thrace 
gives it three tributaries, the Athrys, the Noes, 
and the Artanes, which all pass through the 
country of the Crobyzian Thracians. Another 
tributary is furnished by Paeonia, namely, the 
Scius; this river, rising near Mount Rhodope, 
forces its way through the chain of Haemus, 1 
and so reaches the Ister. From Illyria comes 
another stream, the Angrus, which has a 
course from south to north, and after watering 
the Triballian plain, falls into the Brongus, 
which falls into the Ister. So the Ister is aug- 
mented by these two streams, both consider- 
able. Besides all these, the Ister receives also 
the waters of the Carpis and the Alpis, two 
rivers running in a northerly direction from 
the country above the Umbrians. For the Ister 
flows through the whole extent of Europe, ris- 
ing in the country of the Celts (the most west- 
erly of all the nations of Europe, excepting the 
Cynetians), and thence running across the 
continent till it reaches Scythia, whereof it 
washes the flanks. 

50. All these streams, then, and many others, 
add their waters to swell the flood of the Ister, 
which thus increased becomes the mightiest of 
rivers; for undoubtedly if we compare the 
stream of the Nile with the single stream of the 
Ister, we must give the preference to the Nile, 
of which no tributary river, nor even rivulet, 

1 This is untrue. No stream forces its way 
through this chain. 




augments the volume. The Ister remains at 
the same level both summer and winter 
owing to the following reasons, as I believe. 
During the winter it runs at its natural height, 
or a very little higher, because in those coun- 
tries there is scarcely any rain in winter, but 
constant snow. When summer comes, this 
snow, which is of great depth, begins to melt, 
and flows into the Ister, which is swelled at 
that season, not only by this cause but also by 
the rains, which are heavy and frequent at that 
part of the year. Thus the various streams 
which go to form the Ister are higher in sum- 
mer than in winter, and just so much higher 
as the sun's power and attraction are greater; 
so that these two causes counteract each other, 
and the effect is to produce a balance, whereby 
the Ister remains always at the same level. 

51. This, then, is one of the great Scythian 
rivers; the next to it is the Tyras, which rises 
from a great lake separating Scythia from the 
land of the Neuri, and runs with a southerly 
course to the sea. Greeks dwell at the mouth 
of the river, who are called Tyritae. 

52. The third river is the Hypanis. This 
stream rises within the limits of Scythia, and 
has its source in another vast lake, around 
which wild white horses graze. The lake is 
called, properly enough, the Mother of the 
Hypanis. The Hypanis, rising here, during the 
distance of five clays' navigation is a shallow 
stream, and the water sweet and pure; thence, 
however, to the sea, which is a distance of four 
days, it is exceedingly bitter. This change is 
caused by its receiving into it at that point a 
brook the waters of which are so bitter that, al- 
though it is but a tiny rivulet, it nevertheless 
taints the entire Hypanis, which is a large 
stream among those of the second order. The 
source of this bitter spring is on the borders of 
the Scythian Husbandmen, where they adjoin 
upon the Alazonians; and the place where it 
rises is called in the Scythic tongue Exampxus, 
which means in our language, "The Sacred 
Ways." The spring itself bears the same name. 
The Tyras and the Hypanis approach each 
other in the country of the Alazonians, but 
afterwards separate, and leave a wide space be- 
tween their streams. 

53. The fourth of the Scythian rivers is the 
Borysthenes. Next to the Ister, it is the greatest 
of them all; and, in my judgment, it is the most 
productive river, not merely in Scythia, but in 
the whole world, excepting only the Nile, with 
which no stream can possibly compare. It has 
upon its banks the loveliest and most excellent 

pasturages for cattle; it contains abundance of 
the most delicious fish; its water is most pleas- 
ant to the taste; its stream is limpid, while all 
the other rivers near it are muddy; the richest 
harvests spring up along its course, and where 
the ground is not sown, the heaviest crops of 
grass; while salt forms in great plenty about its 
mouth without human aid, and large fish are 
taken in it of the sort called Antacaei, without 
any prickly bones, and good for pickling. Nor 
are these the whole of its marvels. As far in- 
land as the place named Gerrhus, which is dis- 
tant forty days' voyage from the sea, its course 
is known, and its direction is from north to 
south; but above this no one has traced it, so as 
to say through what countries it flows. It enters 
the territory of the Scythian Husbandmen after 
running for some time across a desert region, 
and continues for ten days' navigation to pass 
through the land which they inhabit. It is the 
only river besides the Nile the sources of which 
are unknown to me, as they are also (I believe) 
to all the other Greeks. Not long before it 
reaches the sea, the Borysthenes is joined by the 
Hypanis, which pours its waters into the same 
lake. The land that lies between them, a nar- 
row point like the beak of a ship, is called Cape 
Hippolaiis. Here is a temple dedicated to 
Ceres, and opposite the temple upon the Hy- 
panis is the dwelling-place of the Borysthenites. 
But enough has been said of these streams. 

54. Next in succession comes the fifth river, 
called the Panticapes, which has, like the Borys- 
thenes, a course from north to south, and rises 
from a lake. The space between this river and 
the Borysthenes is occupied by the Scythians 
who are engaged in husbandry. After watering 
their country, the Panticapes flows through 
Hyla-a, and empties itself into the Borysthenes. 

55. The sixth stream is the Hypacyris, a 
river rising from a lake, and running directly 
through the middle of the Nomadic Scythians. 
It falls into the sea near the city of Carcinitis, 
leaving Hylaea and the course of Achilles to the 

56. The seventh river is the Gerrhus, which 
is a branch thrown out by the Borysthenes at 
the point where the course of that stream first 
begins to be known, to wit, the region called 
by the same name as the stream itself, viz. 
Gerrhus. This river on its passage towards 
the sea divides the country of the Nomadic 
from that of the Royal Scyths. It runs into the 

57. The eighth river is the Tanais, a stream 
which has its source, far up the country, in a 


lake of vast size, and which empties itself into 
another still larger lake, the Palus Maeotis, 
whereby the country of the Royal Scythians is 
divided from that of the Sauromatae. The 
Tanais receives the waters of a tributary 
stream, called the Hyrgis. 

58. Such then are the rivers of chief note in 
Scythia. The grass which the land produces is 
more apt to generate gall in the beasts that feed 
on it than any other grass which is known to 
us, as plainly appears on the opening of their 

59. Thus abundantly are the Scythians pro- 
vided with the most important necessaries. 
Their manners and customs come now to be 
described. They worship only the following 
gods, namely, Vesta, whom they reverence be- 
yond all the rest, Jupiter, and Tellus, whom 
they consider to be the wife of Jupiter; and 
after these Apollo, Celestial Venus, Hercules, 
and Mars. These gods are worshipped by the 
whole nation: the Royal Scythians offer sacri- 
fice likewise to Neptune. In the Scythic tongue 
Vesta is called Tahiti, Jupiter (very properly, 
in my judgment) Papceus, Tellus Apia, Apollo 
(Etosyrus, Celestial Venus Artlmpasa, and 
Neptune Thamimasadas. They use no images, 
altars, or temples, except in the worship of 
Mars; but in his worship they do use them. 

60. The manner of their sacrifices is every- 
where and in every case the same; the victim 
stands with its two fore-feet bound together by 
a cord, and the person who is about to offer, 
taking his station behind the victim, gives the 
rope a pull, and thereby throws the animal 
down; as it falls he invokes the god to whom 
he is offering; after which he puts a noose 
round the animal's neck, and, inserting a small 
stick, twists it round, and so strangles him. No 
fire is lighted, there is no consecration, and no 
pouring out of drink-offerings; but directly 
that the beast is strangled the sacnficer flays 
him, and then sets to work to boil the flesh. 

6 1. As Scythia, however, is utterly barren of 
firewood, a plan has had to be contrived for 
boiling the flesh, which is the following. After 
flaying the beasts, they take out all the bones, 
and (if they possess such gear) put the flesh 
into boilers made in the country, which are 
very like the cauldrons of the Lesbians, ex- 
cept that they are of a much larger size; then 
placing the bones of the animals beneath the 
cauldron, they set them alight, and so boil the 
meat. If they do not happen to possess a cauld- 
ron, they make the animal's paunch hold the 
flesh, and pouring in at the same time a little 

[BooK iv 

water, lay the bones under and light them. 
The bones burn beautifully; and the paunch 
easily contains all the flesh when it is stript 
from the bones, so that by this plan your ox is 
made to boil himself, and other victims also 
to do the like. When the meat is all cooked, the 
sacrificer offers a portion of the flesh and of 
the entrails, by casting it on the ground before 
him. They sacrifice all sorts of cattle, but most 
commonly horses. 

62. Such are the victims offered to the other 
gods, and such is the mode in which they are 
sacrificed; but the rites paid to Mars are dif- 
ferent. In every district, at the seat of govern- 
ment, there stands a temple of this god, where- 
of the following is a description. It is a pile of 
brushwood, made of a vast quantity of fagots, 
in length and breadth three furlongs; in height 
somewhat less, having a square platform upon 
the top, three sides of which are precipitous, 
while the fourth slopes so that men may walk 
up it. Each year a hundred and fifty waggon- 
loads of brushwood are added to the pile, 
which sinks continually by reason of the rains. 
An antique iron sword is planted on the top of 
every such mound, and serves as the image of 
Mars: yearly sacrifices of cattle and of horses 
are made to it, and more victims are offered 
thus than to all the rest of their gods. When 
prisoners are taken in war, out of every hun- 
dred men they sacrifice one, not however with 
the same rites as the cattle, but with different. 
Libations of wine are first poured upon their 
heads, after which they are slaughtered over 
a vessel; the vessel is then carried up to the top 
of the pile, and the blood poured upon the 
scymitar. While this takes place at the top of 
the mound, below, by the side of the temple, 
the right hands and arms of the slaughtered 
prisoners are cut off, and tossed on high into 
the air. Then the other victims are slain, and 
those who have offered the sacrifice depart, 
leaving the hands and arms where they may 
chance to have fallen, and the bodies also, 

63. Such are the observances of the Scythians 
with respect to sacrifice. They never use swine 
for the purpose, nor indeed is it their wont to 
breed them in any part of their country. 

64. In what concerns war, their customs are 
the following. The Scythian soldier drinks the 
blood of the first man he overthrows in battle. 
Whatever number he slays, he cuts off all their 
heads, and carries them to the king; since he 
is thus entitled to a share of the booty, whereto 
he forfeits all claim if he does not produce a 


head. In order to strip the skull of its covering, 
he makes a cut round the head above the ears, 
and, laying hold of the scalp, shakes the skull 
out; then with the rib of an ox he scrapes the 
scalp clean of flesh, and softening it by rubbing 
between the hands, uses it thenceforth as a 
napkin. The Scyth is proud of these scalps, and 
hangs them from his bridle-rein; the greater 
the number of such napkins that a man can 
show, the more highly is he esteemed among 
them. Many make themselves cloaks, like the 
capotes of our peasants, by sewing a quantity 
of these scalps together. Others flay the right 
arms of their dead enemies, and make of the 
skin, which is stripped oft with the nails hang- 
ing to it, a covering for their quivers. Now the 
skin of a man is thick and glossy, and would 
in whiteness surpass almost all other hides. 
Some even flay the entire body of their enemy, 
and stretching it upon a frame carry it about 
with them wherever they ride. Such are the 
Scythian customs with respect to scalps and 

65. The skulls of their enemies, not indeed 
of all, but of those whom they most detest, they 
treat as follows. Having sawn off the portion 
below the eyebrows, and cleaned out the inside, 
they cover the outside with leather. When a 
man is poor, this is all that he does; but if he is 
rich, he also lines the inside with gold: in 
either case the skull is used as a drinkmg-cup. 
They do the same with the skulls of their own 
kith and kin if they have been at feud with 
them, and have vanquished them in the pres- 
ence of the king. When strangers whom they 
deem of any account come to visit them, these 
skulls are handed round, and the host tells how 
that these were his relations who made war 
upon him, and how that he got the better of 
them; all this being looked upon as proof of 

66. Once a year the governor of each district, 
at a set place in his own province, mingles a 
bowl of wine, of which all Scythians have a 
right to drink by whom foes have been slain; 
while they who have slain no enemy are not 
allowed to taste of the bowl, but sit aloof in 
disgrace. No greater shame than this can hap- 
pen to them. Such as have slain a very large 
number of foes, have two cups instead of one, 
and drink from both. 

67. Scythia has an abundance of soothsayers, 
who foretell the future by means of a number 
of willow wands. A large bundle of these 
wands is brought and laid on the ground. The 
soothsayer unties the bundle, and places each 



wand by itself, at the same time uttering his 
prophecy: then, while he is still speaking, he 
gathers the rods together again, and makes 
them up once more into a bundle. This mode 
of divination is of home growth in Scythia. 
The Enarees, or woman-like men, have another 
method, which they say Venus taught them. 
It is done with the inner bark of the linden- 
tree. They take a piece of this bark, and, split- 
ting it into three strips, keep twining the strips 
about their fingers, and untwining them, while 
they prophesy. 

68. Whenever the Scythian king falls sick, 
he sends for the three soothsayers of most re- 
nown at the time, who come and make trial of 
their art in the mode above described. Gen- 
erally they say that the king is ill because such 
or such a person, mentioning his name, has 
sworn falsely by the royal hearth. This is the 
usual oath among the Scythians, when they 
wish to swear with very great solemnity. Then 
the man accused of having foresworn himself 
is arrested and brought before the king. The 
soothsayers tell him that by their art it is clear 
he has sworn a false oath by the royal hearth, 
and so caused the illness of the king he de- 
nies the charge, protests that he has sworn no 
false oath, and loudly complains of the wrong 
done to him. Upon this the king sends for six 
new soothsayers, who try the matter by sooth- 
saying. If they too find the man guilty of the 
offence, straightway he is beheaded by those 
who first accused him, and his goods are part- 
ed among them: if, on the contrary, they acquit 
him, other soothsayers, and again others, are 
sent for, to try the case. Should the greater 
number decide in favour of the man's inno- 
cence, then they who first accused him forfeit 
their lives. 

69. The mode of their execution is the fol- 
lowing: a waggon is loaded with brushwood, 
and oxen are harnessed to it; the soothsayers, 
with their feet tied together, their hands bound 
behind their backs, and their mouths gagged, 
are thrust into the midst of the brushwood; 
finally the wood is set alight, and the oxen, 
being startled, are made to rush off with the 
waggon. It often happens that the oxen and 
the soothsayers are both consumed together, 
but sometimes the pole of the waggon is burnt 
through, and the oxen escape with a scorching. 
Diviners lying diviners, they call them are 
burnt in the way described, for other causes be- 
sides the one here spoken of. When the king 
puts one of them to death, he takes care not to 
let any of his sons survive: all the male off- 



[BOOK iv 

spring arc slain with the father, only the fe- 
males being allowed to live. 

70. Oaths among the Scyths are accompa- 
nied with the following ceremonies: a large 
carthern bowl is filled with wine, and the par- 
ties to the oath, wounding themselves slightly 
with a knife or an awl, drop some of their 
blood into the wine; then they plunge into the 
mixture a scymitar, some arrows, a battle-axe, 
and a javelin, all the while repeating prayers; 
lastly the two contracting parties drink each a 
draught from the bowl, as do also the chief 
men among their followers. 

71. The tombs of their kings are in the land 
of the Gerrhi, who dwell at the point where the 
Borysthenes is first navigable. Here, when the 
king dies, they dig a grave, which is square in 
shape, and of great size. When it is ready, they 
take the king's corpse, and, having opened the 
belly, and cleaned out the inside, fill the cavity 
with a preparation of chopped cypress, frank- 
incense, parsley-seed, and anise-seed, after 
which they sew up the opening, enclose the 
body in wax, and, placing it on a waggon, 
carry it about through all the different tribes. 
On this procession each tribe, when it receives 
the corpse, imitates the example which is first 
set by the Royal Scythians; every man chops 
off a piece of his ear, crops his hair close, and 
makes a cut all round his arm, lacerates his 
forehead and his nose, and thrusts an arrow 
through his left hand. Then they who have 
the care of the corpse carry it with them to an- 
other of the tribes which are under the Scyth- 
ian rule, followed by those whom they first 
visited. On completing the circuit of all the 
tribes under their sway, they find themselves 
in the country of the Gerrhi, who are the most 
remote of all, and so they come to the tombs of 
the kings. There the body of the dead king is 
laid in the grave prepared for it, stretched upon 
a mattress; spears are fixed in the ground on 
either side of the corpse, and beams stretched 
across above it to form a roof, which is covered 
with a thatching of osier twigs. In the open 
space around the body of the king they bury 
one of his concubines, first killing her by 
strangling, and also his cup-bearer, his cook, 
his groom, his lacquey, his messenger, some of 
his horses, firstlings of all his other possessions, 
and some golden cups; for they use neither 
silver nor brass. After this they set to work, and 
raise a vast mound above the grave, all of them 
vying with each other and seeking to make it 
as tall as possible. 

72. When a year is gone by, further cere- 

monies take place. Fifty of the best of the late 
king's attendants are taken, all native Scythians 
for, as bought slaves are unknown in the 
country, the Scythian kings choose any of their 
subjects that they like, to wait on them fifty 
of these are taken and strangled, with fifty of 
the most beautiful horses. When they are dead, 
their bowels are taken out, and the cavity 
cleaned, filled full of chaff, and straightway 
sewn up again. This done, a number of posts 
are driven into the ground, in sets of two pairs 
each, and on every pair half the felly of a wheel 
is placed archwise; then strong stakes are run 
lengthways through the bodies of the horses 
from tail to neck, and they are mounted up 
upon the fellies, so that the felly in front sup- 
ports the shoulders of the horse, while that be- 
hind sustains the belly and quarters, the legs 
dangling in mid-air; each horse is furnished 
with a bit and bridle, which latter is stretched 
out in front of the horse, and fastened to a peg. 
The fifty strangled youths are then mounted 
severally on the fifty horses. To effect this, a 
second stake is passed through their bodies 
along the course of the spine to the neck; the 
lower end of which projects from the body, 
and is fixed into a socket, made in the stake 
that runs lengthwise down the horse. The fifty 
riders are thus ranged in a circle round the 
tomb, and so left. 

73. Such, then, is the mode in which the 
kings are buried: as for the people, when any 
one dies, his nearest of kin lay him upon a 
waggon and take him round to all his friends 
in succession: each receives them in turn and 
entertains them with a banquet, whereat the 
dead man is served with a portion of all that is 
set before the others; this is done for forty 
days, at the end of which time the burial takes 
place. After the burial, those engaged in it have 
to purify themselves, which they do in the fol- 
lowing way. First they well soap and wash 
their heads; then, in order to cleanse their 
bodies, they act as follows: they make a booth 
by fixing in the ground three sticks inclined 
towards one another, and stretching around 
them woollen felts, which they arrange so as to 
fit as close as possible: inside the booth a dish 
is placed upon the ground, into which they 
put a number of red-hot stones, and then add 
some hemp-seed. 

74. Hemp grows in Scythia: it is very like 
flax; only that it is a much coarser and taller 
plant: some grows wild about the country, 
some is produced by cultivation: the Thracians 
make garments of it which closely resemble 




linen; so much so, indeed, that if a person has 
never seen hemp he is sure to think they are 
linen, and if he has, unless he is very experi- 
enced in such matters, he will not know of 
which material they are. 

75. The Scythians, as I said, take some of 
this hemp-seed, and, creeping under the felt 
coverings, throw it upon the red-hot stones; 
immediately it smokes, and gives out such a 
vapour as no Grecian vapour-bath can exceed; 
the Scyths, delighted, shout for joy, and this 
vapour serves them instead of a water-bath; 
for they never by any chance wash their bodies 
with water. Their women make a mixture of 
cypress, cedar, and frankincense wood, which 
they pound into a paste upon a rough piece of 
stone, adding a little water to it. With this 
substance, which is of a thick consistency, they 
plaster their faces all over, and indeed their 
whole bodies. A sweet odour is thereby im- 
parted to them, and when they take off the 
plaster on the day following, their skin is clean 
and glossy. 

76. The Scythians have an extreme hatred 
of all foreign customs, particularly of those in 
use among the Greeks, as the instances of Ana- 
charsis, and, more lately, of Scylas, have fully 
shown. The former, after he had travelled over 
a great portion of the world, and displayed 
wherever he went many proofs of wisdom, as 
he sailed through the Hellespont on his return 
to Scythia touched at Cyzicus. There he found 
the inhabitants celebrating with much pomp 
and magnificence a festival to the Mother of 
the Gods, 1 and was himself induced to make a 
vow to the goddess, whereby he engaged, if 
he got back safe and sound to his home, that 
he would give her a festival and a night-proces- 
sion in all respects like those which he had seen 
in Cyzicus. When, therefore, he arrived in 
Scythia, he betook himself to the district called 
the Woodland, which lies opposite the course 
of Achilles, and is covered with trees of all 
manner of different kinds, and there went 
through all the sacred rites with the tabour in 
his hand, and the images tied to him. While 
thus employed, he was noticed by one of the 
Scythians, who went and told king Saulius 
what he had seen. Then king Saulius came in 
person, and when he perceived what Anachar- 
sis was about, he shot at him with an arrow 
and killed him. To this day, if you ask the 
Scyths about Anacharsis, they pretend igno- 
rance of him, because of his Grecian travels 
and adoption of the customs of foreigners. I 

1 Cybele or Rhca. 

learnt, however, from Timnes, the steward of 
Ariapithes, that Anacharsis was paternal uncle 
to the Scythian king Idanthyrsus, being the 
son of Gnurus, who was the son of Lycus and 
the grandson of Spargapithes. If Anacharsis 
were really of this house, it must have been by 
his own brother that he was slain, for Idan- 
thyrsus was a son of the Saulius who put An- 
acharsis to death. 

77. I have heard, however, another tale, very 
different from this, which is told by the Pelo- 
ponnesians: they say, that Anacharsis was sent 
by the king of the Scyths to make acquaint- 
ance with Greece that he went, and on his re- 
turn home reported that the Greeks were all 
occupied in the pursuit of every kind of knowl- 
edge, except the Lacedaemonians; who, how- 
ever, alone knew how to converse sensibly. A 
silly tale this, which the Greeks have invented 
for their amusement! There is no doubt that 
Anacharsis suffered death in the mode already 
related, on account of his attachment to for- 
eign customs, and the intercourse which he 
held with the Greeks. 

78. Scylas, likewise, the son of Ariapithes, 
many years later, met with almost the very 
same fate. Ariapithes, the Scythian king, had 
several sons, among them this Scylas, who was 
the child, not of a native Scy th, but of a woman 
of Istria. Bred up by her, Scylas gained an ac- 
quaintance with the Greek language and let- 
ters. Some time afterwards, Ariapithes was 
treacherously slain by Spargapithes, king of the 
Aga thyrsi; whereupon Scylas succeeded to the 
throne, and married one of his father's wives, 
a woman named Opoea. This Opoea was a 
Scythian by birth, and had brought Ariapithes 
a son called Oricus. Now when Scylas found 
himself king of Scythia, as he disliked the 
Scythic mode of life, and was attached, by his 
bringing up, to the manners of the Greeks, he 
made it his usual practice, whenever he came 
with his army to the town of the Borysthen- 
ites, who, according to their own account, are 
colonists of the Milesians he made it his 
practice, I say, to leave the army before the city, 
and, having entered within the walls by him- 
self, and carefully closed the gates, to exchange 
his Scythian dress for Grecian garments, and 
in this attire to walk about the forum, without 
guards or retinue. The Borysthenites kept 
watch at the gates, that no Scythian might see 
the king thus apparelled. Scylas, meanwhile, 
lived exactly as the Greeks, and even offered 
sacrifices to the gods according to the Grecian 
rites. In this way he would pass a month, or 



[ BOOK iv 

more, with the Borysthenites, after which he 
would clothe himself again in his Scythian 
dress, and so take his departure. This he did 
repeatedly, and even built himself a house in 
Borysthenes, and married a wife there who 
was a native of the place. 

79. But when the time came that was or- 
dained to bring him woe, the occasion of his 
ruin was the following. He wanted to be in- 
itiated in the Bacchic mysteries, and was on the 
point of obtaining admission to the rites, when 
a most strange prodigy occurred to him. The 
house which he possessed, as I mentioned a 
short time back, in the city of the Borysthen- 
ites, a building of great extent and erected at 
a vast cost, round which there stood a number 
of sphinxes and griffins carved in white marble, 
was struck by lightning from on high, and 
burnt to the ground. Scylas, nevertheless, went 
on and received the initiation. Now the Scyth- 
ians are wont to reproach the Greeks with their 
Bacchanal rage, and to say that it is not rea- 
sonable to imagine there is a god who impels 
men to madness. No sooner, therefore, was 
Scylas initiated in the Bacchic mysteries than 
one of the Borysthenites went and carried the 
news to the Scythians "You Scyths laugh at 
us," he said, "because we rave when the god 
seizes us. But now our god has seized upon 
your king, who raves like us, and is maddened 
by the influence. If you think I do not tell you 
true, come with me, and I will show him to 
you." The chiefs of the Scythians went with 
the man accordingly, and the Borysthenite, 
conducting them into the city, placed them se- 
cretly on one of the towers. Presently Scylas 
passed by with the band of revellers, raving 
like the rest, and was seen by the watchers. Re- 
garding the matter as a very great misfortune 
they instantly departed, and came and told the 
army what they had witnessed. 

80. When, therefore, Scylas, after leaving 
Borysthenes, was about returning home, the 
Scythians broke out into revolt. They put at 
their head Octamasadas, grandson (on the 
mother's side) of Teres. Then Scylas, when he 
learned the danger with which he was threat- 
ened, and the reason of the disturbance, made 
his escape to Thrace. Octamasadas, discover- 
ing whither he had fled, marched after him, 
and had reached the Ister, when he was met 
by the forces of the Thracians. The two armies 
were about to engage, but before they joined 
battle, Sitalces sent a message to Octamasadas 
to this effect "Why should there be trial of 
arms betwixt thee and me? Thou art my own 

sister's son, and thou hast in thy keeping my 
brother. Surrender him into my hands, and I 
will give thy Scylas back to thee. So neither 
thou nor I will risk our armies." Sitalces sent 
this message to Octamasadas, by a herald, and 
Octamasadas, with whom a brother of Sitalces 
had formerly taken refuge, accepted the terms. 
He surrendered his own uncle to Sitalces, and 
obtained in exchange his brother Scylas. Sital- 
ces took his brother with him and withdrew; 
but Octamasadas beheaded Scylas upon the 
spot. Thus rigidly do the Scythians maintain 
their own customs, and thus severely do they 
punish such as adopt foreign usages. 

81. What the population of Scythia is I was 
not able to learn with certainty; the accounts 
which I received varied from one another. I 
heard from some that they were very numer- 
ous indeed; others made their numbers but 
scanty for such a nation as the Scyths. Thus 
much, however, I witnessed with my own 
eyes. There is a tract called Exampaeus between 
the Borysthenes and the Hypanis. I made some 
mention of it in a former place, where I spoke 
of the bitter stream which rising there flows 
into the Hypanis, and renders the water of 
that river undrinkable. Here then stands a 
brazen bowl, six times as big as that at the en- 
trance of the Euxme, which Pausanias, the son 
of Cleombrotus, set up. Such as have never 
seen that vessel may understand me better if I 
say that the Scythian bowl holds with ease six 
hundred amphorae, 1 and is of the thickness of 
six fingers' breadth. The natives gave me the 
following account of the manner in which it 
was made. One of their kings, by name Arian- 
tas, wishing to know the number of his sub- 
jects, ordered them all to bring him, on pain 
of death, the point off one ot their arrows. 
They obeyed; and he collected thereby a vast 
heap of arrow-heads, which he resolved to 
form into a memorial that might go down to 
posterity. Accordingly he made of them this 
bowl, and dedicated it at Exampaeus. This was 
all that I could learn concerning the number of 
the Scythians. 

82. The country has no marvels except its 
rivers, which are larger and more numerous 
than those of any other land. These, and the 
vastness of the great plain, are worthy of note, 
and one thing besides, which I am about to 
mention. They show a footmark of Hercules, 

x The Greek amphora (dju</>opeus) contained 
nearly nine of our gallons; whence it appears that 
this bowl would have held about 5400 gallons, or 
above 85 hogsheads. 




impressed on a rock, in shape like the print of 
a man's foot, but two cubits in length. It is in 
the neighbourhood of the Tyras. Having de- 
scribed this, I return to the subject on which I 
originally proposed to discourse. 

83. The preparations of Darius against the 
Scythians had begun, messengers had been des- 
patched on all sides with the king's commands, 
some being required to furnish troops, others 
to supply ships, others again to bridge the 
Thracian Bosphorus, when Artabanus, son of 
Hystaspes and brother of Darius, entreated the 
king to desist from his expedition, urging on 
him the great difficulty of attacking Scythia. 
Good, however, as the advice of Artabanus 
was, it failed to persuade Darius. He therefore 
ceased his reasonings; and Darius, when his 
preparations were complete, led his army forth 
from Susa. 

84. It was then that a certain Persian, by 
name (Eobazus, the father of three sons, all of 
whom were to accompany the army, came and 
prayed the king that he would allow one of 
his sons to remain with him. Darius made an- 
swer, as if he regarded him in the light of a 
friend who had urged a moderate request, 
"that he would allow them all to remain." CEo- 
bazus was overjoyed, expecting that all his chil- 
dren would be excused from serving; the king, 
however, bade his attendants take the three 
sons of CEobazus and forthwith put them to 
death. Thus they were all left behind, but not 
till they had been deprived of life. 

85. When Darius, on his march from Susa, 
reached the territory of Chalcedon on the 
shores of the Bosphorus, where the bridge had 
been made, he took ship and sailed thence to 
the Cyanean islands, which, according to the 
Greeks, once floated. He took his seat also in 
the temple and surveyed the Pontus, which is 
indeed well worthy of consideration. There is 
not in the world any other sea so wonderful: 
it extends in length eleven thousand one hun- 
dred furlongs, and its breadth, at the widest 
part, is three thousand three hundred. The 
mouth is but four furlongs wide; and this 
strait, called the Bosphorus, and across which 
the bridge of Darius had been thrown, is a hun- 
dred and twenty furlongs in length, reaching 
from the Euxine to the Propontis. The Pro- 
pontis is five hundred furlongs across, and 
fourteen hundred long. Its waters flow into the 
Hellespont, the length of which is four hun- 
dred furlongs, and the width no more than 
seven. The Hellespont opens into the wide sea 
called the Egean. 

86. The mode in which these distances have 
been measured is the following. In a long 
day a vessel generally accomplishes about sev- 
enty thousand fathoms, in the night sixty thou- 
sand. Now from the mouth of the Pontus to 
the river Phasis, which is the extreme length 
of this sea, is a voyage of nine days and eight 
nights, which makes the distance one million 
one hundred and ten thousand fathoms, or 
eleven thousand one hundred furlongs. Again, 
from Sindica, to Themiscyra on the river Ther- 
modon, where the Pontus is wider than at any 
other place, is a sail of three days and two 
nights; which makes three hundred and thirty 
thousand fathoms, or three thousand three 
hundred furlongs. Such is the plan on which I 
have measured the Pontus, the Bosphorus, and 
the Hellespont, and such is the account which 
I have to give of them. The Pontus has also a 
lake belonging to it, not very much inferior to 
itself in size. The waters of this lake run into 
the Pontus: it is called the Macotis, and also the 
Mother of the Pontus. 

87. Darius, after he had finished his survey, 
sailed back to the bridge, which had been con- 
structed for him by Mandrocles a Samian. He 
likewise surveyed the Bosphorus, and erected 
upon its shores two pillars of white marble, 
whereupon he inscribed the names of all the 
nations which formed his army on the one 
pillar in Greek, on the other in Assyrian char- 
acters. Now his army was drawn from all the 
nations under his sway; and the whole amount, 
without reckoning the naval forces, was seven 
hundred thousand men, including cavalry. 
The fleet consisted of six hundred ships. Some 
time afterwards the Byzantines removed these 
pillars to their own city, and used them for an 
altar which they erected to Orthosian Diana. 
One block remained behind: it lay near the 
temple of Bacchus at Byzantium, and was cov- 
ered with Assyrian writing. The spot where 
Darius bridged the Bosphorus was, I think, 
but I speak only from conjecture, half-way be- 
tween the city of Byzantium and the temple at 
the mouth of the strait. 

88. Darius was so pleased with the bridge 
thrown across the strait by the Samain Man- 
drocles, that he not only bestowed upon him 
all the customary presents, but gave him ten of 
every kind. Mandrocles, by the way of offer- 
ing first-fruits from these presents, caused a pic- 
ture to be painted which showed the whole of 
the bridge, with King Darius sitting in a seat- 
of honour, and his army engaged in the pas- 
sage. This painting he dedicated in the temple, 



[BOOK iv 

of Juno at Samos, attaching to it the inscription 


The fish-fraught Bosphorus bridged, to funo's fane 

Did Mandrocles this proud memorial bring; 
When for himself a crown he'd styll to gain, 

For Samos praise, contenting the Great King. 
Such was the memorial of his work which was 
left by the architect of the bridge. 

89. Darius, after rewarding Mandrocles, 
passed into Europe, while he ordered the loni- 
ans to enter the Pontus, and sail to the mouth 
of the Ister. There he bade them throw a 
bridge across the stream and await his coming. 
The lonians, ^Eolians, and Hellespontians 
were the nations which furnished the chief 
strength of his navy. So the fleet, threading the 
Cyanean Isles, proceeded straight to the Ister, 
and, mounting the river to the point where its 
channels separate, a distance of two days' voy- 
age from the sea, yoked the neck of the stream. 
Meantime Darius, who had crossed the Bos- 
phorus by the bridge over it, marched through 
Thrace; and happening upon the sources of the 
Tearus, pitched his camp and made a stay of 
three days. 

90. Now the Tearus is said by those who 
dwell near it, to be the most healthful of all 
streams, and to cure, among other diseases, the 
scab either in man or beast. Its sources, which 
are eight and thirty in number, all flowing 
from the same rock, are in part cold, in part 
hot. They lie at an equal distance from the 
town of Heraeum near Perinthus, and Apol- 
lonia on the Euxine, a two days' journey from 
each. This river, the Tearus, is a tributary of 
the Contadesdus, which runs into the Agri- 
anes, and that into the Hebrus. The Hebrus 
empties itself into the sea near the city of 


91. Here then, on the banks of the Tearus, 
Darius stopped and pitched his camp. The riv- 
er charmed him so, that he caused a pillar to 
be erected in this place also, with an inscrip- 
tion to the following effect: "The fountains of 
the Tearus afford the best and most beautiful 
water of all rivers: they were visited, on his 
march into Scythia, by the best and most beau- 
tiful of men, Darius, son of Hystaspes, king of 
the Persians, and of the whole continent." 
Such was the inscription which he set up at 
this place. 

92. Marching thence, he came to a second 
river, called the Artiscus, which flows through 
the country of the Odrysians. Here he fixed 
upon a certain spot, where every one of his 
soldiers should throw a stone as he passed by. 

When his orders were obeyed, Darius contin- 
ued his march, leaving behind him great hills 
formed of the stones cast by his troops. 

93. Before arriving at the Ister, the first peo- 
ple whom he subdued were the Getac, who be- 
lieve in their immortality. The Thracians of 
Salmydessus, and those who dwelt above the 
cities of Apollonia and Mesembria the Scyr- 
miadae and Nipsaeans, as they are called gave 
themselves up to Darius without a struggle; 
but the Getac obstinately defending themselves, 
were forthwith enslaved, notwithstanding that 
they are the noblest as well as the most just of 
all the Thracian. tribes. 

94. The belief of the Getae in respect of im- 
mortality is the following. They think that 
they do not really die, but that when they de- 
part this life they go to Zalmoxis, who is called 
also Gebeleizis by some among them. To this 
god every five years they send a messenger, 
who is chosen by lot out of the whole nation, 
and charged to bear him their several requests. 
Their mode of sending him is this. A number 
of them stand in order, each holding in his 
hand three darts; others take the man who is 
to be sent to Zalmoxis, and swinging him by 
his hands and feet, toss him into the air so that 
he falls upon the points of the weapons. If he is 
pierced and dies, they think that the god is pro- 
pitious to them; but if not, they lay the fault on 
the messenger, who (they say) is a wicked 
man: and so they choose another to send away. 
The messages are given while the man is still 
alive. This same people, when it lightens and 
thunders, aim their arrows at the sky, uttering 
threats against the god; and they do not believe 
that there is any god but their own. 

95. I am told by the Greeks who dwell on 
the shores of the Hellespont and the Pontus, 
that this Zalmoxis was in reality a man, that he 
lived at Samos, and while there was the slave 
of Pythagoras son of Mnesarchus. After ob- 
taining his freedom he grew rich, and leaving 
Samos, returned to his own country. The 
Thracians at that time lived in a wretched way, 
and were a poor ignorant race; Zalmoxis, 
therefore, who by his commerce with the 
Greeks, and especially with one who was by 
no means their most contemptible philosopher, 
Pythagoras to wit, was acquainted with the 
Ionic mode of life and with manners more re- 
fined than those current among his country- 
men, had a chamber built, in which from time 
to time he received and feasted all the princi- 
pal Thracians, using the occasion to teach them 
that neither he, nor they, his boon companions, 



nor any of their posterity would ever perish, 
but that they would all go to a place where 
they would live for aye in the enjoyment of 
every conceivable good. While he was acting in 
this way, and holding this kind of discourse, 
he was constructing an apartment under- 
ground, into which, when it was completed, he 
withdrew, vanishing suddenly from the eyes of 
the Thracians, who greatly regretted his loss, 
and mourned over him as one dead. He mean- 
while abode in his secret chamber three full 
years, after which he came forth from his con- 
cealment, and showed himself once more to his 
countrymen, who were thus brought to believe 
in the truth of what he had taught them. Such 
is the account of the Greeks. 

96. I for my part neither put entire faith in 
this story of Zalmoxis and his underground 
chamber, nor do I altogether discredit it: but I 
believe Zalmoxis to have lived long before the 
time of Pythagoras. Whether there was ever 
really a man of the name, or whether Zalmoxis 
is nothing but a native god of the Getae, I now 
bid him farewell. As for the Gctae themselves, 
the people who observe the practices described 
above, they were now reduced by the Persians, 
and accompanied the army of Darius. 

97. When Darius, with his land forces, 
reached the Ister, he made his troops cross the 
stream, and after all were gone over gave or- 
ders to the lonians to break the bridge, and fol- 
low him with the whole naval force in his 
land march. They were about to obey his com- 
mand, when the general of the Mytilenaeans, 
Goes son of Erxander, having first asked 
whether it was agreeable to the king to listen 
to one who wished to speak his mind, ad- 
dressed him in the words following: "Thou 
art about, Sire, to attack a country no part of 
which is cultivated, and wherein there is not a 
single inhabited city. Keep this bridge, then, as 
it is, and leave those who built it to watch over 
it. So if we come up with the Scythians and 
succeed against them as we could wish, we 
may return by this route; or if we fail of find- 
ing them, our retreat will still be secure. For I 
have no fear lest the Scythians defeat us in 
battle, but my dread is lest we be unable to dis- 
cover them, and suffer loss while we wander 
about their territory. And now, mayhap, it 
will be said, I advise thee thus in the hope of 
being myself allowed to remain behind; but in 
truth I have no other design than to recom- 
mend the course which seems to me the best; 
nor will I consent to be among those left be- 
hind, but my resolve is, in any case, to follow 

thcc." The advice of Goes pleased Darius high- 
ly, who thus replied to him: "Dear Lesbian, 
when I am safe home again in my palace, be 
sure thou come to me, and with good deeds 
will I recompense thy good words of to-day." 

98. Having so said, the king took a leathern 
thong, and tying sixty knots in it, called to- 
gether the Ionian tyrants, and spoke thus to 
them : "Men of Ionia, my former commands 
to you concerning the bridge are now with- 
drawn. See, here is a thong: take it, and ob- 
serve my bidding with respect to it. From the 
time that I leave you to march forward into 
Scythia, untie every day one of the knots. If I 
do not return before the last day to which the 
knots will hold out, then leave your station, 
and sail to your several homes. Meanwhile, un- 
derstand that my resolve is changed, and that 
you are to guard the bridge with all care, and 
watch over its safety and preservation. By so 
doing ye will oblige me greatly." When Darius 
had thus spoken, he set out on his march with 
all speed. 

99. Before you come to Scythia, on the sea 
coast, lies Thrace. The land here makes a 
sweep, and then Scythia begins, the Ister fall- 
ing into the sea at this point with its mouth 
facing the east. Starting from the Ister I shall 
now describe the measurements of the sea- 
shore of Scythia. Immediately that the Ister is 
crossed, Old Scythia begins, and continues as 
far as the city called Carcinitis, fronting to- 
wards the south wind and the mid-day. Here 
upon the same sea, there lies a mountainous 
tract projecting into the Pontus, which is in- 
habited by the Tauri, as far as what is called 
the Rugged Chersonese, which runs out into 
the sea upon the east. For the boundaries of 
Scythia extend on two sides to two different 
seas, one upon the south, and the other to- 
wards the east, as is also the case with Attica. 
And the Tauri occupy a position in Scythia 
like that which a people would hold in Attica, 
who, being foreigners and not Athenians, 
should inhabit the high land of Sunium, from 
Thoricus to the township of Anaphlystus, if 
this tract projected into the sea somewhat fur- 
ther than it does. Such, to compare great things 
with small, is the Tauric territory. For the sake 
of those who may not have made the voyage 
round these parts of Attica, I will illustrate in 
another way. It is as if in lapygia a line were 
drawn from Port Brundusium to Tarcntum, 
and a people different from the lapygians in- 
habited the promontory. These two instances 
may suggest a number of others where the 



shape of the land closely resembles that of 

100. Beyond this tract, we find the Scyth- 
ians again in possession of the country above 
the Tauri and the parts bordering on the east- 
ern sea, as also of the whole district lying west 
of the Cimmerian Bosphorus and the Palus 
Maeotis, as far as the river Tanais, which emp- 
ties itself into that lake at its upper end. As for 
the inland boundaries of Scythia, if we start 
from the Ister, we find it enclosed by the fol- 
lowing tribes, first the Agathyrsi, next the 
Neuri, then the Androphagi, and last of all, the 

101. Scythia then, which is square in shape, 
and has two of its sides reaching down to the 
sea, extends inland to the same distance that it 
stretches along the coast, and is equal every 
way. For it is a ten days' journey from the Ister 
to the Borysthenes, and ten more from the 
Borysthenes to the Palus Maeotis, while the 
distance from the coast inland to the country 
of the Melanchkeni, who dwell above Scythia, 
is a journey of twenty days. I reckon the day's 
journey at two hundred furlongs. Thus the two 
sides which run straight inland are four thou- 
sand furlongs each, and the transverse sides at 
right angles to these are also of the same 
length, which gives the full size of Scythia. 

102. The Scythians, reflecting on their situa- 
tion, perceived that they were not strong 
enough by themselves to contend with the 
army of Darius in open fight. They, therefore, 
sent envoys to the neighbouring nations, whose 
kings had already met, and were in consulta- 
tion upon the advance of so vast a host. Now 
they who had come together were the kings of 
the Tauri, the Agathyrsi, the Neuri, the An- 
drophagi, the Melanchlaeni, the Geloni, the 
Budini, and the Sauromatae. 

103. The Tauri have the following customs. 
They offer in sacrifice to the Virgin all ship- 
wrecked persons, and all Greeks compelled to 
put into their ports by stress of weather. The 
mode of sacrifice is this. After the preparatory 
ceremonies, they strike the victim on the head 
with a club. Then, according to some accounts, 
they hurl the trunk from the precipice where- 
on the temple stands, and nail the head to a 
cross. Others grant that the head is treated in 
this way, but deny that the body is thrown 
down the cliff on the contrary, they say, it is 
buried. The goddess to whom these sacrifices 
are offered the Tauri themselves declare to be 
Iphigenia the daughter of Agamemnon. When 
they take prisoners in war they treat them in 

[BooK iv 

the following way. The man who has taken a 
captive cuts off his head, and carrying it to his 
home, fixes it upon a tall pole, which he ele- 
vates above his house, most commonly over the 
chimney. The reason that the heads are set up 
so high, is (it is said) in order that the whole 
house may be under their protection. These 
people live entirely by war and plundering. 

104. The Agathyrsi are a race of men very 
luxurious, and very fond of wearing gold on 
their persons. They have wives in common, 
that so they may be all brothers, and, as mem- 
bers of one family, may neither envy nor hate 
one another. In other respects their customs ap- 
proach nearly to those of the Thracians. 

105. The Neurian customs are like the 
Scythian. One generation before the attack of 
Darius they were driven from their land by a 
huge multitude of serpents which invaded 
them. Of these some were produced in their 
own country, while others, and those by far the 
greater number, came in from the deserts on 
the north. Suffering grievously beneath this 
scourge, they quitted their homes, and took 
refuge with the Budini. It seems that these peo- 
ple are conjurers: for both the Scythians and 
the Greeks who dwell in Scythia say that every 
Neurian once a year becomes a wolf for a few 
days, at the end of which time he is restored to 
his proper shape. Not that I believe this, but 
they constantly affirm it to be true, and are 
even ready to back their assertion with an oath. 

1 06. The manners of the Androphagi 1 are 
more savage than those of any other race. They 
neither observe justice, nor are governed by 
any laws. They are nomads, and their dress is 
Scythian; but the language which they speak 
is peculiar to themselves. Unlike any other na- 
tion in these parts, they are cannibals. 

107. The Melanchlaeni 2 wear, all of them, 
black cloaks, and from this derive the name 
which they bear. Their customs are Scythic. 

1 08. The Budini are a large and powerful 
nation: they have all deep blue eyes, and bright 
red hair. There is a city in their territory, called 
Gelonus, which is surrounded with a lofty 
wall, thirty furlongs each way, built entirely of 
wood. All the houses in the place and all the 
temples are of the same material. Here are 
temples built in honour of the Grecian gods, 
and adorned after the Greek fashion with im- 
ages, altars, and shrines, all in wood. There is 
even a festival, held every third year in hon- 
our of Bacchus, at which the natives fall into 

1 Or "Men-eaters." 

2 Or "Black-cloaks." 




the Bacchic fury. For the fact is that the Gcl- 
oni were anciently Greeks, who, being driven 
out of the factories along the coast, fled to the 
Budini and took up their abode with them. 
They still speak a language half Greek, half 

109. The Budini, however, do not speak the 
same language as the Geloni, nor is their mode 
of life the same. They are the aboriginal peo- 
ple of the country, and are nomads; unlike any 
of the neighbouring races, they eat lice. The 
Geloni, on the contrary, are tillers of the soil, 
eat bread, have gardens, and both in shape and 
complexion are quite different from the Bu- 
dini. The Greeks notwithstanding call these 
latter Geloni; but it is a mistake to give them 
the name. Their country is thickly planted 
with trees of all manner of kinds. In the very 
woodiest part is a broad deep lake, surrounded 
by marshy ground with reeds growing on it. 
Here otters are caught, and beavers, with an- 
other sort of animal which has a square face. 
With the skins of this last the natives border 
their capotes: and they also get from them a 
remedy, which is of virtue in diseases of the 

no. It is reported of the Sauromatx, that 
when the Greeks fought with the Amazons, 
whom the Scythians call Oior-pata or "man- 
slayers," as it may be rendered, Oior being 
Scythic for "man," and pata for "to slay" it is 
reported, I say, that the Greeks after gaining 
the battle of the Thermodon, put to sea, taking 
with them on board three of their vessels all the 
Amazons whom they had made prisoners; and 
that these women upon the voyage rose up 
against the crews, and massacred them to a 
man. As however they were quite strange to 
ships, and did not know how to use either rud- 
der, sails, or oars, they were carried, after the 
death of the men, where the winds and the 
waves listed. At last they reached the shores of 
the Palus Maeotis and came to a place called 
Cremni or "the Cliffs," which is in the country 
of the free Scythians. Here they went ashore, 
and proceeded by land towards the inhabited 
regions; the first herd of horses which they fell 
in with they seized, and mounting upon their 
backs, fell to plundering the Scythian terri- 

in. The Scyths could not tell what to make 
of the attack upon them the dress, the lan- 
guage, the nation itself, were alike unknown 
whence the enemy had come even, was a 
marvel. Imagining, however, that they were all 
men of about the same age, they went out 

against them, and fought a battle. Some of the 
bodies of the slain fell into their hands, where- 
by they discovered the truth. Hereupon they 
deliberated, and made a resolve to kill no more 
of them, but to send against them a detach- 
ment of their youngest men, as near as they 
could guess equal to the women in number, 
with orders to encamp in their neighbourhood, 
and do as they saw them do when the Ama- 
zons advanced against them, they were to re- 
tire, and avoid a fight when they halted, the 
young men were to approach and pitch their 
camp near the camp of the enemy. All this they 
did on account of their strong desire to obtain 
children from so notable a race. 

1 12. So the youths departed, and obeyed the 
orders which had been given them. The Ama- 
zons soon found out that they had not come to 
do them any harm; and so they on their part 
ceased to offer the Scythians any molestation. 
And now day after day the camps approached 
nearer to one another; both parties led the same 
life, neither having anything but their arms 
and horses, so that they were forced to support 
themselves by hunting and pillage. 

113. At last an incident brought two of them 
together the man easily gained the good 
graces of the woman, who bade him by signs 
(for they did not understand each other's lan- 
guage) to bring a friend the next day to the 
spot where they had met promising on her 
part to bring with her another woman. He did 
so, and the woman kept her word. When the 
rest of the youths heard what had taken place, 
they also sought and gained the favour of the 
other Amazons. 

114. The two camps were then joined in 
one, the Scythians living with the Amazons as 
their wives; and the men were unable to learn 
the tongue of the women, but the women soon 
caught up the tongue of the men. When they 
could thus understand one another, the Scyths 
addressed the Amazons in these words "We 
have parents, and properties, let us therefore 
give up this mode of life, and return to our na- 
tion, and live with them. You shall be our 
wives there no less than here, and we promise 
you to have no others." But the Amazons said 
"We could not live with your women our 
customs are quite different from theirs. To 
draw the bow, to hurl the javelin, to bestride 
the horse, these are our arts of womanly em- 
ployments we know nothing. Your women, on 
the contrary, do none of these things; but stay 
at home in their waggons, engaged in woman- 
ish tasks, and never go out to hunt, or to do 



[ BOOK iv 

anything. We should never agree together. But 
if you truly wish to keep us as your wives, and 
would conduct yourselves with strict justice 
towards us, go you home to your parents, bid 
them give you your inheritance, and then come 
back to us, and let us and you live together by 

115. The youths approved of the advice, and 
followed it. They went and got the portion of 
goods which fell to them, returned with it, and 
rejoined their wives, who then addressed them 
in these words following: "We are ashamed, 
and afraid to live in the country where we now 
are. Not only have we stolen you from your 
fathers, but we have done great damage to 
Scythia by our ravages. As you like us for 
wives, grant the request we make of you. Let 
us leave this country together, and go and 
dwell beyond the Tanais." Again the youths 

116. Crossing the Tanais they journeyed 
eastward a distance of three days' march from 
that stream, and again northward a distance of 
three days' march from the Palus Maeotis. Here 
they came to the country where they now live, 
and took up their abode in it. The women of 
the Sauromatac have continued from that day 
to the present to observe their ancient customs, 
frequently hunting on horseback with their 
husbands, sometimes even unaccompanied; in 
war taking the field; and wearing the very 
same dress as the men. 

117. The Sauromatae speak the language of 
Scythia, but have never talked it correctly, be- 
cause the Amazons learnt it imperfectly at the 
first. Their marriage-law lays it down that no 
girl shall wed till she has killed a man in bat- 
tle. Sometimes it happens that a woman dies 
unmarried at an advanced age, having never 
been able in her whole lifetime to fulfil the 

1 1 8. The envoys of the Scythians, on being 
introduced into the presence of the kings of 
these nations, who were assembled to deliber- 
ate, made it known to them that the Persian, 
after subduing the whole of the other conti- 
nent, had thrown a bridge over the strait of the 
Bosphorus, and crossed into the continent of 
Europe, where he had reduced the Thracians, 
and was now making a bridge over the Ister, 
his aim being to bring under his sway all Eu- 
rope also. "Stand ye not aloof then from this 
contest," they went on to say, "look not on 
tamely while we arc perishing but make 
common cause with us, and together let us 
meet the enemy. If ye refuse, we must yield to 

the pressure, and either quit our country, or 
make terms with the invaders. For what else is 
left for us to do, if your aid be withheld from 
us? The blow, be sure, will not light on you 
more gently upon this account. The Persian 
comes against you no less than against us: and 
will not be content, after we are conquered, to 
leave you in peace. We can bring strong proof 
of what we here advance. Had the Persian 
leader indeed come to avenge the wrongs 
which he suffered at our hands when we en- 
slaved his people, and to war on us only, he 
would have been bound to march straight 
upon Scythia, without molesting any nation by 
the way. Then it would have been plain to all 
that Scythia alone was aimed at. But now, 
what has his conduct been ? From the moment 
of his entrance into Europe, he has subjugated 
without exception every nation that lay in his 
path. All the tribes of the Thracians have been 
brought under his sway, and among them even 
our next neighbours, the Gttx" 

119. The assembled princes of the nations, 
after hearing all that the Scythians had to say, 
deliberated. At the end opinion was divided 
the kings of the Geloni, Budmi, and Sauro- 
mata were of accord, and pledged themselves 
to give assistance to the Scythians; but the Aga- 
thyrsian and Neurian princes, together with 
the sovereigns of the Androphagi, the Melan- 
chlaeni, and the Tauri, replied to their request 
as follows: "If you had not been the first to 
wrong the Persians, and begin the war, we 
should have thought the request you make 
just; we should then have complied with your 
wishes, and joined our arms with yours. Now, 
however, the case stands thus you, indepen- 
dently of us, invaded the land of the Persians, 
and so long as God gave you the power, lorded 
it over them: raised up now by the same God, 
they are come to do to you the like. We, on 
our part, did no wrong to these men in the for- 
mer war, and will not be the first to commit 
wrong now. If they invade our land, and be- 
gin aggressions upon us, we will not suffer 
them; but, till we see this come to pass, we will 
remain at home. For we believe that the Per- 
sians are not come to attack us, but to punish 
those who are guilty of first injuring them." 

120. When this reply reached the Scythians, 
they resolved, as the neighbouring nations re- 
fused their alliance, that they would not openly 
venture on any pitched battle with the enemy, 
but would retire before them, driving off their 
herds, choking up all the wells and springs as 
they retreated, and leaving the whole country 




bare of forage. They divided themselves into 
three bands, one of which, namely, that com- 
manded by Scopasis, it was agreed should be 
joined by the Sauromatae, and if the Persians 
advanced in the direction of the Tanais, should 
retreat along the shores of the Palus Maeotis 
and make for that river; while if the Persians 
retired, they should at once pursue and harass 
them. The two other divisions, the principal 
one under the command of Idanthyrsus, and 
the third, of which Taxacis was king, were to 
unite in one, and, joined by the detachments of 
the Geloni and Budini, were, like the others, to 
keep at the distance of a day's march from the 
Persians, falling back as they advanced, and 
doing the same as the others. And first, they 
were to take the direction of the nations which 
had refused to join the alliance, and were to 
draw the war upon them: that so, if they would 
not of their own free will engage in the con- 
test, they might by these means be forced into 
it. Afterwards, it was agreed that they should 
retire into their own land, and, should it on de- 
liberation appear to them expedient, join battle 
with the enemy. 

121. When these measures had been deter- 
mined on, the Scythians went out to meet the 
army of Darius, sending on in front as scouts 
the fleetest of their horsemen. Their waggons, 
wherein their women and their children lived, 
and all their cattle, except such a number as 
was wanted for food, which they kept with 
them, were made to precede them in their re- 
treat, and departed, with orders to keep march- 
ing, without change of course, to the north. 

122. The scouts of the Scythians found the 
Persian host advanced three days' march from 
the Istcr, and immediately took the lead of 
them at the distance of a day's march, encamp- 
ing from time to time, and destroying all that 
grew on the ground. The Persians no sooner 
caught sight of the Scythian horse than they 
pursued upon their track, while the enemy re- 
tired before them. The pursuit of the Persians 
was directed towards the single division of the 
Scythian army, and thus their line of march 
was eastward toward the Tanais. The Scyths 
crossed the river, and the Persians after them, 
still in pursuit. In this way they passed through 
the country of the Sauromatae, and entered 
that of the Budini. 

123. As long as the march of the Persian 
army lay through the countries of the Scythians 
and Sauromata?, there was nothing which they 
could damage, the land being waste and bar- 
ren; but on entering the territories of the Bu- 

dini, they came upon the wooden fortress above 
mentioned, which was deserted by its inhabi- 
tants and left quite empty of everything. This 
place they burnt to the ground; and having so 
done, again pressed forward on the track of the 
retreating Scythians, till, having passed 
through the entire country of the Budini, they 
reached the desert, which has no inhabitants, 
and extends a distance of seven days' journey 
above the Budmian territory. Beyond this des- 
ert dwell the Thyssagetse, out of whose land 
four great streams flow. These rivers all tra- 
verse the country of the Maeotians, and fall into 
the Palus Maeotis. Their names are the Lycus, 
the Oarus, the Tanais, and the Syrgis. 

124. When Darius reached the desert, he 
paused from his pursuit, and halted his army 
upon the Oarus. Here he built eight large forts, 
at an equal distance from one another, sixty 
furlongs apart or thereabouts, the ruins of 
which were still remaining in my day. During 
the time that he was so occupied, the Scythians 
whom he had been following made a circuit 
by the higher regions, and re-entered Scythia. 
On their complete disappearance, Darius, see- 
ing nothing more of them, left his forts half 
finished, and returned towards the west. He 
imagined that the Scythians whom he had 
seen were the entire nation, and that they had 
fled in that direction. 

125. He now quickened his march, and 
entering Scythia, fell in with the two com- 
bined divisions of the Scythian army, and in- 
stantly gave them chase. They kept to their 
plan of retreating before him at the distance of 
a day's march; and, he still following them 
hotly, they led him, as had been previously 
settled, into the territories of the nations that 
had refused to become their allies, and first of 
all into the country of the Melanchlaeni. Great 
disturbance was caused among this people by 
the invasion of the Scyths first, and then of the 
Persians. So, having harassed them after this 
sort, the Scythians led the way into the land of 
the Androphagi, with the same result as be- 
fore; and thence passed onwards into Neuris, 
where their coming likewise spread dismay 
among the inhabitants. Still retreating they ap- 
proached the Aga thyrsi; but this people, which 
had witnessed the flight and terror of their 
neighbours, did not wait for the Scyths to in- 
vade them, but sent a herald to forbid them to 
cross their borders, and to forewarn them, 
that, if they made the attempt, it would be re- 
sisted by force of arms. The Agathyrsi then 
proceeded to the frontier, to defend their coun- 



try against the invaders. As for the other na- 
tions, the Melanchlaeni, the Androphagi, and 
the Neuri, instead of defending themselves, 
when the Scyths and Persians overran their 
lands, they forgot their threats and fled away 
in confusion to the deserts lying towards the 
north. The Scythians, when the Agathyrsi for- 
bade them to enter their country, refrained; 
and led the Persians back from the Neurian 
district into their own land. 

126. This had gone on so long, and seemed 
so interminable, that Darius at last sent a horse- 
man to Idanthyrsus, the Scythian king, with 
the following message: "Thou strange man, 
why dost thou keep on flying before me, when 
there are two things thou mightest do so eas- 
ily? If thou deemest thyself able to resist my 
arms, cease thy wanderings and come, let us 
engage in battle. Or if thou art conscious that 
my strength is greater than thine even so 
thou shouldest cease to run away thou hast 
but to bring thy lord earth and water, and to 
come at once to a conference." 

127. To this message Idanthyrsus, the Scyth- 
ian king, replied: "This is my way, Persian. 
I never fear men or fly from them. I have not 
done so in times past, nor do I now fly from 
thce, There is nothing new or strange in what 
I do; I only follow my common mode of life in 
peaceful years. Now I will tell thee why I do 
not at once join battle with thee. We Scythians 
have neither towns nor cultivated lands, which 
might induce us, through fear of their being 
taken or ravaged, to be in any hurry to fight 
with you. If, however, you must needs come to 
blows with us speedily, look you now, there 
are our fathers' tombs seek them out, and 
attempt to meddle with them then ye shall 
see whether or no we will fight with you. Till 
ye do this, be sure we shall not join battle, un- 
less it pleases us. This is my answer to the chal- 
lenge to fight. As for lords, I acknowledge only 
Jove my ancestor, and Vesta, the Scythian 
queen. Earth and water, the tribute thou 
iskedst, I do not send, but thou shalt soon re- 
vive more suitable gifts. Last of all, in return 
For thy calling thyself my lord, I say to thee, 
Go weep.' " (This is what men mean by the 
Scythian mode of speech.) So the herald de- 
parted, bearing this message to Darius. 

128. When the Scythian kings heard the 
lame of slavery they were filled with rage, and 
despatched the division under Scopasis to 
vhich the Sauromatae were joined, with orders 
hat they should seek a conference with the 
onians, who had been left at the Ister to guard 

[BooK iv 

the bridge. Meanwhile the Scythians who re- 
mained behind resolved no longer to lead the 
Persians hither and thither about their coun- 
try, but to fall upon them whenever they 
should be at their meals. So they waited till 
such times, and then did as they had deter- 
mined. In these combats the Scythian horse 
always put to flight the horse of the enemy; 
these last, however, when routed, fell back 
upon their foot, who never 'failed to afford 
them support; while the Scythians, on their 
side, as soon as they had driven the horse in, 
retired again, for fear of the foot. By night too 
the Scythians made many similar attacks. 

129. There was one very strange thing 
which greatly advantaged the Persians, and 
was of equal disservice to the Scyths, in these 
assaults on the Persian camp. This was the 
braying of the asses and the appearance of the 
mules. For, as I observed before, the land of the 
Scythians produces neither ass nor mule, and 
contains no single specimen of either animal, 
by reason of the cold. So, when the asses 
brayed, they frightened the Scythian cavalry; 
and often, in the middle of a charge, the 
horses, hearing the noise made by the asses, 
would take fright and wheel round, pricking 
up their ears, and showing astonishment. This 
was owing to their having never heard the 
noise, or seen the form, of the animal before: 
and it was not without some little influence on 
the progress of the war. 

130. The Scythians, when they perceived 
signs that the Persians were becoming alarmed, 
took steps to induce them not to quit Scythia, 
in the hope, if they stayed, of inflicting on 
them the greater injury, when their supplies 
should altogether fail. To effect this, they 
would leave some of their cattle exposed with 
the herdsmen, while they themselves moved 
away to a distance: the Persians would make a 
foray, and take the beasts, whereupon they 
would be highly elated. 

131. This they did several times, until at 
last Darius was at his wits' end; hereon the 
Scythian princes, understanding how matters 
stood, despatched a herald to the Persian camp 
with presents for the king: these were, a bird, 
a mouse, a frog, and five arrows. The Persians 
asked the bearer to tell them what these gifts 
might mean, but he made answer that he had 
no orders except to deliver them, and re- 
turn again with all speed. If the Persians were 
wise, he added, they would find out the mean- 
ing for themselves. So when they heard this, 
they held a council to consider the matter. 




132. Darius gave it as his opinion that the 
Scyths intended a surrender of themselves and 
their country, both land and water, into his 
hands. This he conceived to be the meaning of 
the gifts, because the mouse is an inhabitant of 
the earth, and eats the same food as man, while 
the frog passes his life in the water; the bird 
bears a great resemblance to the horse, and the 
arrows might signify the surrender of all their 
power. To the explanation of Darius, Gobryas, 
one of the seven conspirators against the Ma- 
gus, opposed another which was as follows: 
"Unless, Persians, ye can turn into birds and 
fly up into the sky, or become mice and bur- 
row under the ground, or make yourselves 
frogs, and take refuge in the fens, ye will never 
make escape from this land, but die pierced by 
our arrows." Such were the meanings which 
the Persians assigned to the gifts. 

133. The single division of the Scyths, which 
in the early part of the war had been appoint- 
ed to keep guard about the Palus Maeotis, and 
had now been sent to get speech of the lonians 
stationed at the Ister, addressed them, on 
reaching the bridge, in these words "Men of 
Ionia, we bring you freedom, if ye will only do 
as we recommend. Darius, we understand, en- 
joined you to keep your guard here at this 
bridge just sixty days; then, if he did not ap- 
pear, you were to return home. Now, there- 
fore, act so as to be free from blame, alike in 
his sight, and in ours. Tarry here the appointed 
time, and at the end go your ways." Having 
said this, and received a promise from the 
lonians to do as they desired, the Scythians 
hastened back with all possible speed. 

134. After the sending of the gifts to Dari- 
us, the part of the Scythian army which had 
not marched to the Ister, drew out in battle 
array horse and foot against the Persians, and 
seemed about to come to an engagement. But 
as they stood in battle array, it chanced that a 
hare started up between them and the Per- 
sians, and set to running; when immediately 
all the Scyths who saw it, rushed of! in pur- 
suit, with great confusion and loud cries and 
shouts. Darius, hearing the noise, inquired the 
cause of it, and was told that the Scythians 
were all engaged in hunting a hare. On this 
he turned to those with whom he was wont to 
converse, and said: "These men do indeed 
despise us utterly: and now I see that Gobryas 
was right about the Scythian gifts. As, there- 
fore, his opinion is now mine likewise, it is 
time we form some wise plan, whereby we 
may secure ourselves a safe return to our 

homes." "Ah! sire," Gobryas rejoined, "I was 
well nigh sure, ere I came here, that this was 
an impracticable race since our coming I am 
yet more convinced of it, especially now that I 
see them making game of us. My advice is, 
therefore, that, when night falls, we light our 
fires as we are wont to do at other times, and 
leaving behind us on some pretext that portion 
of our army which is weak and unequal to 
hardship, taking care also to leave our asses 
tethered, retreat from Scythia, before our foes 
march forward to the Ister and destroy the 
bridge, or the lonians come to any resolution 
which may lead to our ruin." 

135. So Gobryas advised; and when night 
came, Darius followed his counsel, and leaving 
his sick soldiers, and those whose loss would be 
of least account, with the asses also tethered 
about the camp, marched away. The asses were 
left that their noise might be heard: the men, 
really because they were sick and useless, but 
under the pretence that he was about to fall 
upon the Scythians with the flower of his 
troops, and that they meanwhile were to guard 
his camp for him. Having thus declared his 
plans to the men whom he was deserting, and 
having caused the fires to be lighted, Darius set 
forth, and marched hastily towards the Ister. 
The asses, aware of the departure of the host, 
brayed louder than ever; and the Scythians, 
hearing the sound, entertained no doubt of the 
Persians being still in the same place. 

136. When day dawned, the men who had 
been left behind, perceiving that they were be- 
trayed by Darius, stretched out their hands 
towards the Scythians, and spoke as befitted 
their situation. The enemy no sooner heard, 
than they quickly joined all their troops in one, 
and both portions of the Scythian army 
alike that which consisted of a single division, 
and that made up of two accompanied by all 
their allies, the Sauromatae, the Budini, and the 
Geloni, set off in pursuit, and made straight 
for the Ister. As, however, the Persian army 
was chiefly foot, and had no knowledge of the 
routes, which are not cut out in Scythia; while 
the Scyths were all horsemen and well ac- 
quainted with the shortest way; it so happened 
that the two armies missed one another, and 
the Scythians, getting far ahead of their adver- 
saries, came first to the bridge. Finding that the 
Persians were not yet arrived, they addressed 
the lonians, who were aboard their ships, in 
these words: "Men of Ionia, the number of 
your days is out, and ye do wrong to remain. 
Fear doubtless has kept you here hitherto: 



[BooK iv 

now, however, you may safely break the bridge, 
and hasten back to your homes, rejoicing that 
you are free, and thanking for it the gods and 
the Scythians. Your former lord and master 
we undertake so to handle, that he will never 
again make war upon any one." 

137. The lonians now held a council. Miltia- 
des the Athenian, who was king of the Cherso- 
nesites upon the Hellespont, and their com- 
mander at the Ister, recommended the other 
generals to do as the Scythians wished, and re- 
store freedom to Ionia. But Histiaeus the Mile- 
sian opposed this advice. "It is through Dari- 
us," he said, "that we enjoy our thrones in our 
several states. If his power be overturned, I 
cannot continue lord of Miletus, nor ye of your 
cities. For there is not one of them which will 
not prefer democracy to kingly rule." Then the 
other captains, who, till Histiaeus spoke, were 
about to vote with Miltiades, changed their 
minds, and declared in favour of the last 

138. The following were the voters on this 
occasion all of them men who stood high in 
the esteem of the Persian king: the tyrants of 
the Hellespont Daphnis of Abydos, Hippoc- 
lus of Lampsacus, Herophantus of Parium, 
Metrodorus of Proconnesus, Aristagoras of 
Cyzicus, and Ariston of Byzantium; the Ionian 
princes Strattis of Chios, ^Laces of Samos, 
Laodamas of Phocaea, and Histiaeus of Miletus, 
the man who had opposed Miltiades. Only one 
yEolian of note was present, to wit, Aristagoras 
of Cyme. 

139. Having resolved to follow the advice of 
Histiaeus, the Greek leaders further deter- 
mined to speak and act as follows. In order to 
appear to the Scythians to be doing something, 
when in fact they were doing nothing of con- 
sequence, and likewise to prevent them from 
forcing a passage across the Ister by the bridge, 
they resolved to break up the part of the bridge 
which abutted on Scythia, to the distance of a 
bowshot from the river bank; and to assure 
the Scythians, while the demolition was pro- 
ceeding, that there was nothing which they 
would not do to pleasure them. Such were the 
additions made to the resolution of Histiaeus; 
and then Histiarus himself stood forth and 
made answer to the Scyths in the name of all 
the Greeks: "Good is the advice which yc 
have brought us, Scythians, and well have ye 
done to come here with such speed. Your ef- 
forts have now put us into the right path; and 
our efforts shall not be wanting to advance 
your cause. Your own eyes see that we are en- 

gaged in breaking the bridge; and, believe us, 
we will work zealously to procure our own 
freedom. Meantime, while we labour here at 
our task, be it your business to seek them out, 
and, when found, for our sakes, as well as your 
own, to visit them with the vengeance which 
they so well deserve." 

140. Again the Scyths put faith in the prom- 
ises of the Ionian chiefs, and retraced their 
steps, hoping to fall in with the Persians. They 
missed, however, the enemy's whole line of 
march; their own former acts being to blame 
for it. Had they not ravaged all the pasturages 
of that region, and filled in all the wells, they 
would have easily found the Persians when- 
ever they chose. But, as it turned out, the 
measures which seemed to them so wisely 
planned were exactly what caused their failure. 
They took a route where water was to be found 
and fodder could be got for their horses, and 
on this track sought their adversaries, expect- 
ing that they too would retreat through regions 
where these things were to be obtained. The 
Persians, however, kept strictly to the line of 
their former march, never for a moment de- 
parting from it; and even so gained the bridge 
with difficulty. It was night when they arrived, 
and their terror, when they found the bridge 
broken up, was great; for they thought that 
perhaps the lonians had deserted them. 

141. Now there was in the army of Darius a 
certain man, an Egyptian, who had a louder 
voice than any other man in the world. This 
person was bid by Darius to stand at the water's 
edge, and call Histiaeus the Milesian. The fel- 
low did as he was bid; and Histiaeus, hearing 
him at the very first summons, brought the 
fleet to assist in conveying the army across, and 
once more made good the bridge. 

142. By these means the Persians escaped 
from Scythia, while the Scyths sought for them 
in vain, again missing their track. And hence 
the Scythians are accustomed to say of the 
lonians, by way of reproach, that, if they be 
looked upon as freemen, they are the basest 
and most dastardly of all mankind but if they 
be considered as under servitude, they are the 
faithfullest of slaves, and the most fondly at- 
tached to their lords. 

143. Darius, having passed through Thrace, 
reached Sestos in the Chersonese, whence he 
crossed by the help of his fleet into Asia, leav- 
ing a Persian, named Megabazus, commander 
on the European side. This was the man on 
whom Darius once conferred special honour 
by a compliment which he paid him before all 




the Persians. He was about to eat some pome- 
granates, and had opened the first, when his 
brother Artabanus asked him "what he would 
like to have in as great plenty as the seeds of 
the pomegranate?'* Darius answered "Had I 
as many men like Megabazus as there are seeds 
here, it would please me better than to be lord 
of Greece." Such was the compliment where- 
with Darius honoured the general to whom at 
this time he gave the command of the troops 
left in Europe, amounting in all to some eighty 
thousand men. 

144. This same Megabazus got himself an 
undying remembrance among the Hellespon- 
tians, by a certain speech which he made. It 
came to his knowledge, while he was staying 
at Byzantium, that the Chalcedonians made 
their settlement seventeen years earlier than 
the Byzantines. "Then," said he, "the Chalce- 
donians must at that time have been labour- 
ing under blindness otherwise, when so far 
more excellent a site was open to them, they 
would never have chosen one so greatly in- 
ferior." Megabazus now, having been ap- 
pointed to take the command upon the Hel- 
lespont, employed himself in the reduction of 
all those states which had not of their own ac- 
cord joined the Medes. 

145. About this very time another great ex- 
pedition was undertaken against Libya, on a 
pretext which I will relate when I have prem- 
ised certain particulars. The descendants of the 
Argonauts in the third generation, driven out 
of Lemnos by the Pelasgi who carried off the 
Athenian women from Brauron, took ship and 
went to Lacedaemon, where, seating themselves 
on Mount Taygetum, they proceeded to kindle 
their fires. The Lacedaemonians, seeing this, 
sent a herald to inquire of them "who they 
were, and from what region they had come"; 
whereupon they made answer, "that they were 
Minyae, sons of the heroes by whom the ship 
Argo was manned; for these persons had 
stayed awhile in Lemnos, and had there be- 
come their progenitors." On hearing this ac- 
count of their descent, the Lacedaemonians 
sent to them a second time, and asked "what 
was their object in coming to Lacedaemon, and 
there kindling their fires?" They answered, 
"that, driven from their own land by the Pe- 
lasgi, they had come, as was most reasonable, 
to their fathers; and their wish was to dwell 
with them in their country, partake their priv- 
ileges, and obtain allotments of land* It seemed 
good to the Lacedaemonians to receive the Min- 
yae among them on their own terms; to assign 

them lands, and enrol them in their tribes. 
What chiefly moved them to this was the con- 
sideration that the sons of Tyndarus had sailed 
on board the Argo. The Minyae, on their part, 
forthwith married Spartan wives, and gave the 
wives, whom they had married in Lemnos, to 
Spartan husbands. 

146. However, before much time had 
elapsed, the Minyae began to wax wanton, de- 
manded to share the throne, and committed 
other impieties: whereupon the Lacedaemoni- 
ans passed on them sentence of death, and, 
seizing them, cast them into prison. Now the 
Lacedaemonians never put criminals to death 
in the daytime, but always at night. When the 
Minyae, accordingly, were about to suffer, their 
wives, who were not only citizens, but daugh- 
ters of the chief men among the Spartans, en- 
treated to be allowed to enter the prison, and 
have some talk with their lords; and the Spar- 
tans, not expecting any fraud from such a 
quarter, granted their request. The women en- 
tered the prison, gave their own clothes to their 
husbands, and received theirs in exchange: af- 
ter which the Minyae, dressed in their wives' 
garments, and thus passing for women, went 
forth. Having effected their escape in this man- 
ner, they seated themselves once more upon 

147. It happened that at this very time Ther- 
as, son of Autesion (whose father Tisamenus 
was the son of Thersandcr, and grandson of 
Polymces), was about to lead out a colony from 
Lacedaemon. This Theras, by birth a Cadmei- 
an, was uncle on the mother's side to the two 
sons of Aristodemus, Procles and Eurysthenes, 
and, during their infancy, administered in 
their right the royal power. When his neph- 
ews, however, on attaining to man's estate, 
took the government, Theras, who could not 
bear to be under the authority of others after 
he had wielded authority so long himself, re- 
solved to leave Sparta and cross the sea to join 
his kindred. There were in the island now 
called Thera, but at that time Calliste*, certain 
descendants of Membliarus, the son of Poeciles, 
a Phoenician. (For Cadmus, the son of Agenor, 
when he was sailing in search of Europe*, made 
a landing on this island; and, either because the 
country pleased him, or because he had a pur- 
pose in so doing, left there a number of Phoe- 
nicians, and with them his own kinsman Mem- 
bliarus. Callist had been inhabited by this 
race for eight generations of men, before the 
arrival of Theras from Lacedaemon.) 

148. Theras now, having with him a certain 



[BOOK iv 

number of men from each of the tribes, was 
setting forth on his expedition hitherward. Far 
from intending to drive out the former inhabi- 
tants, he regarded them as his near kin, and 
meant to settle among them. It happened that 
just at this time the Minyae, having escaped 
from their prison, had taken up their station 
upon Mount Taygetum; and the Lacedaemoni- 
ans, wishing to destroy them, were considering 
what was best to be done, when Theras begged 
their lives, undertaking to remove them from 
the territory. His prayer being granted, he took 
ship, and sailed, with three triaconters, to 
join the descendants of Membliarus. He was 
not, however, accompanied by all the Minyae, 
but only by some few of them. The greater 
number fled to the land of the Paroreats and 
Caucons, whom they drove out, themselves oc- 
cupying the region in six bodies, by which 
were afterwards built the towns of Lepreum, 
Macistus, Phryxae, Pyrgus, Epium, and Nudi- 
um; whereof the greater part were in my day 
demolished by the Eleans. 

149. The island was called Thera after the 
name of its founder. This same Theras had a 
son, who refused to cross the sea with him; 
Theras therefore left him behind, "a sheep," 
as he said, "among wolves." From this speech 
his son came to be called CEolycus, a name 
which afterwards grew to be the only one by 
which he was known. This CEolycus was the 
father of ^Egeus, from whom sprang the yE- 
gidae, a great tribe in Sparta. The men of this 
tribe lost at one time all their children, where- 
upon they were bidden by an oracle to build a 
temple to the furies of Laius and GEdipus; they 
complied, and the mortality ceased. The same 
thing happened in Thera to the descendants of 
these men. 

150. Thus far the history is delivered with- 
out variation both by the Theraeans and the 
Lacedaemonians; but from this point we have 
only the Theraean narrative. Grinus (they 
say), the son of /Esanius, a descendant of Ther- 
as, and king of the island of Thera, went to 
Delphi to offer a hecatomb on behalf of his na- 
tive city. He was accompanied by a large num- 
ber of the citizens, and among the rest by Bat- 
tus, the son of Polymnestus, who belonged to 
the Minyan family of the Euphemidae. On 
Grinus consulting the oracle about sundry mat- 
ters, the Pythoness gave him for answer, "that 
he should found a city in Libya." Grinus re- 
plied to this: "I, O king! am too far advanced 
in years, and too inactive, for such a work. Bid 
one of these youngsters undertake it." As he 

spoke, he pointed towards Battus; and thus the 
matter rested for that time. When the embassy 
returned to Thera, small account was taken of 
the oracle by the Theraeans, as they were quite 
ignorant where Libya was, and were not so 
venturesome as to send out a colony in the 

151. Seven years passed from the utterance 
of the oracle, and not a drop of rain fell in 
Thera: all the trees in the island, except one, 
were killed with the drought. The Theraeans 
upon this sent to Delphi, and were reminded 
reproachfully that they had never colonised 
Libya. So, as there was no help for it, they sent 
messengers to Crete, to inquire whether any of 
the Cretans, or of the strangers sojourning 
among them, had ever travelled as far as Libya: 
and these messengers of theirs, in their wander- 
ings about the island, among other places vis- 
ited Itanus, where they fell in with a man, 
whose name was Corobius, a dealer in purple. 
In answer to their inquiries, he told them that 
contrary winds had once carried him to Libya, 
where he had gone ashore on a certain island 
which was named Platea. So they hired this 
man's services, and took him back with them 
to Thera. A few persons then sailed from 
Thera to reconnoitre. Guided by Corobius to 
the island of Platea, they left him there with 
provisions for a certain number of months, and 
returned home with all speed to give their 
countrymen an account of the island. 

152. During their absence, which was pro- 
longed beyond the time that had been agreed 
upon, Corobius' provisions failed him. He was 
relieved, however, after a while by a Samian 
vessel, under the command of a man named 
Colaeus, which, on its way to Egypt, was forced 
to put in at Platea. The crew, informed by 
Corobius of all the circumstances, left him suf- 
ficient food for a year. They themselves quit- 
ted the island; and, anxious to reach Egypt, 
made sail in that direction, but were carried 
out of their course by a gale of wind from the 
east. The storm not abating, they were driven 
past the Pillars of Hercules, and at last, by some 
special guiding providence, reached Tartessus. 
This trading town was in those days a virgin 
port, unfrequented by the merchants. The 
Samians, in consequence, made by the return 
voyage a profit greater than any Greeks before 
their day, excepting Sostratus, son of Laodam- 
as, an Eginetan, with whom no one else can 
compare. From the tenth part of their gains, 
amounting to six talents, the Samians made a 
brazen vessel, in shape like an Argive wine- 


bowl, adorned with the heads of griffins stand- 
ing out in high relief. This bowl, supported by 
three kneeling colossal figures in bronze, of 
the height of seven cubits, was placed as an 
offering in the temple of Juno at Samos. The 
aid given to Corobius was the original cause of 
that close friendship which afterwards united 
the Cyrenaeans and Theraeans with the Sami- 

153. The Theraeans who had left Corobius 
at Platea, when they reached Thera, told their 
countrymen that they had colonised an island 
on the coast of Libya. They of Thera, upon this, 
resolved that men should be sent to join the 
colony from each of their seven districts, and 
that the brothers in every family should draw 
lots to determine who were to go. Battus was 
chosen to be king and leader of the colony. So 
these men departed for Platea on board of two 

154. Such is the account which the Therae- 
ans give. In the sequel of the history their ac- 
counts tally with those of the people of Cy- 
rene; but in what they relate of Battus these 
two nations differ most widely. The following 
is the Cyrenaic story. There was once a king 
named Etearchus, who ruled over Axus, a 
city in Crete, and had a daughter named 
Phronima. This girl's mother having died, 
Etearchus married a second wife; who no soon- 
er took up her abode in his house than she 
proved a true step-mother to poor Phronima, 
always vexing her, and contriving against her 
every sort of mischief. At last she taxed her 
with light conduct; and Etearchus, persuaded 
by his wife that the charge was true, bethought 
himself of a most barbarous mode of punish- 
ment. There was a certain Theracan, named 
Themison, a merchant, living at Axus. This 
man Etearchus invited to be his friend and 
guest, and then induced him to swear that he 
would do him any service he might require. 
No sooner had he given the promise, than the 
king fetched Phronima, and, delivering her 
into his hands, told him to carry her away and 
throw her into the sea. Hereupon Themison, 
full of indignation at the fraud whereby his 
oath had been procured, dissolved forthwith 
the friendship, and, taking the girl with him, 
sailed away from Crete. Having reached the 
open main, to acquit himself of the obligation 
under which he was laid by his oath to Etear- 
chus, he fastened ropes about the damsel, and, 
letting her down into the sea, drew her up 
again, and so made sail for Thera. 

155. At Thera, Polymnestus, one of the 



chief citizens of the place, took Phronima to be 
his concubine. The fruit of this union was a 
son, who stammered and had a lisp in his 
speech. According to the Cyrenaeans and Ther- 
aeans, the name given to the boy was Battus: in 
my opinion, however, he was called at the first 
something else, and only got the name of Bat- 
tus after his arrival in Libya, assuming it either 
in consequence of the words addressed to him 
by the Delphian oracle, or on account of the 
office which he held. For, in the Libyan 
tongue, the word "Battus" means "a king." 
And this, I think, was the reason why the Py- 
thoness addressed him as she did: she knew he 
was to be a king in Libya, and so she used the 
Libyan word in speaking to him. For after he 
had grown to man's estate, he made a journey 
to Delphi, to consult the oracle about his voice; 
when, upon his putting his question, the Py- 
thoness thus replied to him: 

Battus, thou earnest to as^ of thy voice; but Phce- 

bus Apollo 
Bids thee establish a city in Libya, abounding in 


which was as if she had said in her own tongue, 
"King, thou earnest to ask of thy voice." Then 
he replied, "Mighty lord, I did indeed come 
hither to consult thee about rny voice, but thou 
speakest to me of quite other matters, bidding 
me colonise Libya an impossible thing! what 
power have I? what followers?" Thus he 
spake, but he did not persuade the Pythoness 
to give him any other response; so, when he 
found that she persisted in her former answer, 
he left her speaking, and set out on his return 
to Thera. 

156. After a while, everything began to go 
wrong both with Battus and with the rest of 
the Thera?ans, whereupon these last, ignorant 
of the cause of their sufferings, sent to Delphi 
to inquire for what reason they were afflicted. 
The Pythoness in reply told them "that if they 
and Battus would make a settlement at Cy- 
ren in Libya, things would go better with 
them." Upon this the Theraeans sent out Battus 
with two penteconters, and with these he pro- 
ceeded to Libya, but within a little time, not 
knowing what else to do, the men returned 
and arrived off Thera. The Theraeans, when 
they saw the vessels approaching, received 
them with showers of missiles, would not al- 
low them to come near the shore, and ordered 
the men to sail back from whence they came. 
Thus compelled to return, they settled on an 
island near the Libyan coast, which (as I have 
already said) was called Platea. In size it is re- 



[BOOK rv 

ported to have been about equal to the city of 
Gyrene, as it now stands. 

157. In this place they continued two years, 
but at the end of that time, as their ill luck still 
followed them, they left the island to the care 
of one of their number, and went in a body to 
Delphi, where they made complaint at the 
shrine to the effect that, notwithstanding they 
had colonised Libya, they prospered as poorly 
as before. Hereon the Pythoness made them 
the following answer: 

Knowest thou better than I, fair Libya abounding 

in fleeces? 
Better the stranger than he who has trod it? Ohl 

clever Theraansl 

Battus and his friends, when they heard this, 
sailed back to Platea: it was plain the god 
would not hold them acquitted of the colony 
till they were absolutely in Libya. So, taking 
with them the man whom they had left upon 
the island, they made a settlement on the main- 
land directly opposite Platea, fixing themselves 
at a place called Aziris, which is closed in on 
both sides by the most beautiful hills, and on 
one side is washed by a river. 

158. Here they remained six years, at the 
end of which time the Libyans induced them 
to move, promising that they would lead them 
to a better situation. So the Greeks left Aziris 
and were conducted by the Libyans towards 
the west, their journey being so arranged, by 
the calculation of thejr guides, that they passed 
in the night the most beautiful district of that 
whole country, which is the region called Irasa. 
The Libyans brought them to a spring, which 
goes by the name of Apollo's fountain, and told 
them "Here, Grecians, is the proper place for 
you to settle; for here the sky leaks." 

159. During the lifetime of Battus, the 
founder of the colony, who reigned forty years, 
and during that of his son Arcesilaiis, who 
reigned sixteen, the Cyrenaeans continued at 
the same level, neither more nor fewer in num- 
ber than they were at the first. But in the reign 
of the third king, Battus, surnamed the Hap- 
py, the advice of the Pythoness brought Greeks 
from every quarter into Libya, to join the set- 
tlement. The Cyrenaeans had offered to all 
comers a share in their lands; and the oracle 
had spoken as follows: 

He that is backward to share in the pleasant Liby- 
an acres, 

Sooner or later, I warn him, will feel regret at his 

Thus a great multitude were collected together 
to Gyrene*, and the Libyans of the neighbour- 

hood found themselves stripped of large por- 
tions of their lands. So they, and their king 
Adicran, being robbed and insulted by the Cy- 
renaeans, sent messengers to Egypt, and put 
themselves under the rule of Apries, the Egyp- 
tian monarch; who, upon this, levied a vast 
army of Egyptians, and sent them against Gy- 
rene*. The inhabitants of that place left their 
walls and marched out in force to the district 
of Irasa, where, near the spring called Theste, 
they engaged the Egyptian host, and defeated 
it. The Egyptians, who had never before made 
trial of the prowess of the Greeks, and so 
thought but meanly of them, were routed with 
such slaughter that but a very few of them ever 
got back home. For this reason, the subjects of 
Apries, who laid the blame of the defeat on 
him, revolted from his authority. 

1 60. This Battus left a son called Arcesilaiis, 
who, when he came to the throne, had dissen- 
sions with his brothers, which ended in their 
quitting him and departing to another region 
of Libya, where, after consulting among them- 
selves, they founded the city, which is still 
called by the name then given to it, Barca. At 
the same time they endeavoured to induce the 
Libyans to revolt from Cyrene. Not long after- 
wards Arcesilaiis made an expedition against 
the Libyans who had received his brothers and 
been prevailed upon to revolt; and they, fear- 
ing his power, fled to their countrymen who 
dwelt towards the east. Arcesilaiis pursued, 
and chased them to a place called Leucon, 
which is in Libya, where the Libyans resolved 
to risk a battle. Accordingly they engaged the 
Cyrenaeans, and defeated them so entirely that 
as many as seven thousand of their heavy- 
armed were slain in the fight. Arcesilaiis, after 
this blow, fell sick, and, whilst he was under 
the influence of a draught which he had taken, 
was strangled by Learchus, one of his brothers. 
This Learchus was afterwards entrapped by 
Eryxo, the widow of Arcesilaiis, and put to 

161. Battus, Arcesilaus* son, succeeded to 
the kingdom, a lame man, who limped in his 
walk. Their late calamities now induced the 
Cyrenzans to send to Delphi and inquire of 
the god what form of government they had 
best set up to secure themselves prosperity. The 
Pythoness answered by recommending them to 
fetch an arbitrator from Mantinea in Arcadia. 
Accordingly they sent; and the Mantineans 
gave them a man named Demonax, a person of 
high repute among the citizens; who, on his 
arrival at Cyre'ne', having first made himself ac- 


quaintcd with all the circumstances, proceed- 
ed to enrol the people in three tribes. One he 
made to consist of the Theraeans and their vas- 
sals; another of the Peloponnesians and Cre- 
tans; and a third of the various islanders. Be- 
sides this, he deprived the king Battus of his 
former privileges, only reserving for him cer- 
tain sacred lands and offices; while, with re- 
spect to the powers which had hitherto been 
exercised by the king, he gave them all into 
the hands of the people. 

162. Thus matters rested during the lifetime 
of this Battus, but when his son Arcesilaiis 
came to the throne, great disturbance arose 
about the privileges. For Arcesilaiis, son of Bat/ 
tus the lame and Pheretima, refused to submit 
to the arrangements of Demonax the Mantin- 
ean, and claimed all the powers of his fore- 
fathers. In the contention which followed Ar- 
cesilaiis was worsted, whereupon he fled to 
Samos, while his mother took refuge at Sala- 
mis in the island of Cyprus. Salamis was at that 
time ruled by Evelthon, the same who offered 
at Delphi the censer which is in the treasury of 
the Corinthians, a work deserving of admira- 
tion. Of him Pheretima made request that he 
would give her an army whereby she and her 
son might regain Cyrene. But Evelthon, pre- 
ferring to give her anything rather than an 
armv, made her various presents. Pheretima 
accepted them all, saying, as she took them: 
"Good is this too, O king! but better were it 
to give me the army which I crave at thy 
hands." Finding that she repeated these words 
each time that he presented her with a gift, 
Evelthon at last sent her a golden spindle and 
distaff, with the wool ready for spinning. 
Again she uttered the same speech as before, 
whereupon Evelthon rejoined 'These are the 
gifts I present to women, not armies.*' 

163. At Samos, meanwhile, Arcesilaiis was 
collecting troops by the promise of granting 
them lands. Having in this way drawn togeth- 
er a vast host, he sent to Delphi to consult the 
oracle about his restoration. The answer of the 
Pythoness was this: "Loxias grants thy race to 
rule over Cyrene, till four kings Battus, four 
Arcesilaiis by name, have passed away. Beyond 
this term of eight generations of men, he 
warns you not to seek to extend your reign. 
Thou, for thy part, be gentle, when thou art 
restored. If thou findest the oven full of jars, 
bake not the jars; but be sure to speed them 
on their way. If, however, thou heatest the 
oven, then avoid the island else thou wilt die 
thyself, and with thee the most beautiful bull." 



164. So spake the Pythoness. Arcesilaiis 
upon this returned to Cyrene, taking with him 
the troops which he had raised in Samos. 
There he obtained possession of the supreme 
power; whereupon, forgetful of the oracle, he 
took proceedings against those who had driven 
him into banishment. Some of them fled from 
him and quitted the country for good; others 
fell into his hands and were sent to suffer 
death in Cyprus. These last happening on their 
passage to put in through stress of weather at 
Cnidus, the Cmdians rescued them, and sent 
them off to Thera. Another body found a ref- 
uge in the great tower of Aglomachus, a pri- 
vate edifice, and were there destroyed by Ar- 
cesilaiis, who heaped wood around the place, 
and burnt them to death. Aware, after the 
deed was done, that this was what the Pytho- 
ness meant when she warned him, if he found 
the jars in the oven, not to bake them, he with- 
drew himself of his own accord from the city 
of Gyrene*, believing that to be the island of the 
oracle, and fearing to die as had been prophe- 
sied. Being married to a relation of his own, a 
daughter of Alazir, at that time king of the 
Barcxans, he took up his abode with him. At 
Barca, however, certain of the citizens, togeth- 
er with a number of Cyremean exiles, recognis- 
ing him as he walked in the forum, killed him; 
they slew also at the same time Alazir, his 
father-in-law. So Arcesilaiis, wittingly or un- 
wittingly, disobeyed the oracle, and thereby 
fulfilled his destiny. 

165. Pheretima, the mother of Arcesilaiis, 
during the time that her son, after working his 
own ruin, dwelt at Barca, continued to enjoy 
all his privileges at Gyrene*, managing the gov- 
ernment, and taking her seat at the council 
board. No sooner, however, did she hear of the 
death of her son at Barca, than leaving Cyren, 
she fled in haste to Egypt. Arcesilaiis had 
claims for service done to Cambyses, son of 
Cyrus; since it was by him that Cyren was 
put under the Persian yoke, and a rate of 
tribute agreed upon. Pheretima therefore went 
straight to Egypt, and presenting herself as a 
suppliant before Aryandes, entreated him to 
avenge her wrongs. Her son, she said, had met 
his death on account of his being so well af- 
fected towards the Medes. 

1 66. Now Aryandes had been made gover- 
nor of Egypt by Cambyses. He it was who in 
after times was punished with death by Darius 
for seeking to rival him. Aware, by report and 
also by his own eyesight, that Darius wished 
to leave a memorial of himself, such as no king 



[ BOOR iv 

had ever left before, Aryandes resolved to fol- 
low his example, and did so, till he got his re- 
ward. Darius had refined gold to the last per- 
fection of purity in order to have coins struck 
of it: Aryandes, in his Egyptian government, 
did the very same with silver, so that to this 
day there is no such pure silver anywhere as 
the Aryandic. Darius, when this came to his 
ears, brought another charge, a charge of re- 
bellion, against Aryandes, and put him to 

167. At the time of which we are speaking 
Aryandes, moved with compassion for Phere- 
tima, granted her all the forces which there 
were in Egypt, both land and sea. The com- 
mand of the army he gave to Amasis, a Mara- 
phian; while Badres, one of the tribe of the 
Pasa&gadae, was appointed to lead the fleet. Be- 
fore the expedition, however, left Egypt, he 
sent a herald to Barca to inquire who it was 
that had slain king Arcesilaiis. The Barcaeans 
replied "that they, one and all, acknowledged 
the deed Arcesilaiis had done them many and 
great injuries." After receiving this reply, Ary- 
andes gave the troops orders to march with 
Pheretima. Such was the cause which served 
as a pretext for this expedition: its real object 
was, I believe, the subjugation of Libya. For 
Libya is inhabited by many and various races, 
and of these but a very few were subjects of the 
Persian king, while by far the larger number 
held Darius in no manner of respect. 

1 68. The Libyans dwell in the order which 
I will now describe. Beginning on the side of 
Egypt, the first Libyans are the Adyrmachidae. 
These people have, in most points, the same 
customs as the Egyptians, but use the costume 
of the Libyans. Their women wear on each leg 
a ring made of bronze; they let their hair grow 
long, and when they catch any vermin on their 
persons, bite it and throw it away. In this they 
differ from all the other Libyans. They are also 
the only tribe with whom the custom obtains 
of bringing all women about to become brides 
before the king, that he may choose such as are 
agreeable to him. The Adyrmachidae extend 
from the borders of Egypt to the harbour called 
Port Plynus. 

169. Next to the Adyrmachidae are the Gilli- 
gamma?, who inhabit the country westward as 
far as the island of Aphrodisias. Off this tract 
is the island of Platea, which the Cyrenseans 
colonised. Here too, upon the mainland, are 
Port Menelaiis, and Aziris, where the Cyrenae- 
ans once lived. The Silphium begins to grow 
in this region, extending from the island of 

Platea on the one side to the mouth of the Syr- 
tis on the other. The customs of the Gilligam- 
mae are like those of the rest of their country- 

170. The Asbystae adjoin the Gilligammae 
upon the west. They inhabit the regions above 
Cyren, but do not reach to the coast, which be- 
longs to the Cyrenaeans. Four-horse chariots 
are in more common use among them than 
among any other Libyans. In most of their cus- 
toms they ape the manners of the Cyrenaeans. 

171. Westward of the Asbystae dwell the 
Auschisae, who possess the country above Bar- 
ca, reaching, however, to the sea at the place 
called Euesperides. In the middle of their ter- 
ritory is the little tribe of the Cabalians, which 
touches the coast near Tauchira, a city of the 
Barcaeans. Their customs are like those of the 
Libyans above Gyrene*. 

172. The Nasamonians, a numerous people, 
are the western neighbours of the Auschisae. In 
summer they leave their flocks and herds upon 
the sea-shore, and go up the country to a place 
called Augila, where they gather the dates 
from the palms, which in those parts grow 
thickly, and are of great size, all of them being 
of the fruit-bearing kind. They also chase the 
locusts, and, when caught, dry them in the sun, 
after which they grind them to powder, and, 
sprinkling this upon their milk, so drink it. 
Each man among them has several wives, in 
their intercourse with whom they resemble the 
Massagetae. The following are their customs in 
the swearing of oaths and the practice of aug- 
ury. The man, as he swears, lays his hand upon 
the tomb of some one considered to have been 
pre-eminently just and good, and so doing 
swears by his name. For divination they be- 
take themselves to the sepulchres of their own 
ancestors, and, after praying, lie down to sleep 
upon their graves; by the dreams which then 
come to them they guide their conduct. When 
they pledge their faith to one another, each 
gives the other to drink out of his hand; if 
there be no liquid to be had, they take up dust 
from the ground, and put their tongues to it. 

173. On the country of the Nasamonians 
borders that of the Psylli, who were swept 
away under the following circumstances. The 
south-wind had blown for a long time and 
dried up all the tanks in which their water was 
stored. Now the whole region within the Syr- 
tis is utterly devoid of springs. Accordingly the 
Psylli took counsel among themselves, and by 
common consent made war upon the south- 
wind so at least the Libyans say, I do but re- 


peat their words they went forth and reached 
the desert; but there the south-wind rose and 
buried them under heaps of sand: whereupon, 
the Psylli being destroyed, their lands passed 
to the Nasamonians. 

174. Above the Nasamonians, towards the 
south, in the district where the wild beasts 
abound, dwell the Garamantians, who avoid 
all society or intercourse with their fellow- 
men, have no weapon of war, and do not know 
how to defend themselves. 

175. These border the Nasamonians on the 
south: westward along the sea-shore their 
neighbours are the Macae, who, by letting the 
locks about the crown of their head grow long, 
while they clip them close everywhere else, 
make their hair resemble a crest. In war these 
people use the skins of ostriches for shields. 
The river Cinyps rises among them from the 
height called "the Hill of the Graces," and 
runs from thence through their country to the 
sea. The Hill of the Graces is thickly covered 
with wood, and is thus very unlike the rest of 
Libya, which is bare. It is distant two hundred 
furlongs from the sea. 

176. Adjoining the Macae are the Gindanes, 
whose women wear on their legs anklets of 
leather. Each lover that a woman has gives her 
one; and she who can show the most is the best 
esteemed, as she appears to have been loved by 
the greatest number of men. 

177. A promontory jutting out into the sea 
from the country of the Gindanes is inhabited 
by the Lotophagi, who live entirely on the 
fruit of the lotus-tree. The lotus fruit is about 
the size of the lentisk berry, and in sweetness 
resembles the date. The Lotophagi even suc- 
ceed in obtaining from it a sort of wine. 

178. The sea-coast beyond the Lotophagi is 
occupied by the Machlyans, who use the lotus 
to some extent, though not so much as the peo- 
ple of whom we last spoke. The Machlyans 
reach as far as the great river called the Triton, 
which empties itself into the great lake Tri- 
tonis. Here, in this lake, is an island called 
Phla, which it is said the Lacedaemonians were 
to have colonised, according to an oracle. 

179. The following is the story as it is com- 
monly told. When Jason had finished building 
the Argo at the foot of Mount Pelion, he took 
on board the usual hecatomb, and moreover a 
brazen tripod. Thus equipped, he set sail, in- 
tending to coast round the Peloponnese, and 
so to reach Delphi. The voyage was prosperous 
as far as Malea; but at that point a gale of wind 
from the north came on suddenly, and carried 



him out of his course to the coast of Libya; 
where, before he discovered the land, he got 
among the shallows of Lake Tritonis. As he 
was turning it in his mind how he should find 
his way out, Triton (they say) appeared to 
him, and offered to show him the channel, and 
secure him a safe retreat, if he would give him 
the tripod. Jason complying, was shown by 
Triton the passage through the shallows; after 
which the god took the tripod, and, carrying 
it to his own temple, seated himself upon it, 
and, filled with prophetic fury, delivered to 
Jason and his companions a long prediction. 
"When a descendant," he said, "of one of the 
Argo's crew should seize and carry off the 
brazen tripod, then by inevitable fate would a 
hundred Grecian cities be built around Lake 
Tritonis." The Libyans of that region, when 
they heard the words of this prophecy, took 
away the tripod and hid it. 

1 80. The next tribe beyond the Machlyans 
is the tribe of the Auseans. Both these nations 
inhabit the borders of Lake Tritonis, being sep- 
arated from one another by the river Triton. 
Both also wear their hair long, but the Mach- 
lyans let it grow at the back of the head, while 
the Auseans have it long in front. The Ausean 
maidens keep year by year a feast in honour of 
Minerva, whereat their custom is to draw up 
in two bodies, and fight with stones and clubs. 
They say that these are rites which have come 
down to them from their fathers, and that they 
honour with them their native goddess, who is 
the same as the Minerva (Athene*) of the Gre- 
cians. If any of the maidens die of the wounds 
they receive, the Auseans declare that such are 
false maidens. Before the fight is suffered to be- 
gin, they have another ceremony. One of the 
virgins, the loveliest of the number, is selected 
from the rest; a Corinthian helmet and a com- 
plete suit of Greek armour are publicly put 
upon her; and, thus adorned, she is made to 
mount into a chariot, and led around the whole 
lake in a procession. What arms they used for 
the adornment of their damsels before the 
Greeks came to live in their country, I cannot 
say. I imagine they dressed them in Egyptian 
armour, for I maintain that both the shield and 
the helmet came into Greece from Egypt. The 
Auseans declare that Minerva is the daughter 
of Neptune and the Lake Tritonis they say 
she quarrelled with her father, and applied to 
Jupiter, who consented to let her be his child; 
and so she became his adopted daughter. 
These people do not marry or live in families, 
but dwell together like the gregarious beasts. 



[BOOK iv 

When their children are full-grown, they arc 
brought before the assembly of the men, which 
is held every third month, and assigned to 
those whom they most resemble. 

1 8 r. Such are the tribes of wandering Liby- 
ans dwelling upon the sea-coast. Above them 
inland is the wild-beast tract: and beyond that, a 
ridge of sand, reaching from Egyptian Thebes 
to the Pillars of Hercules. Throughout this 
ridge, at the distance of about ten days' journey 
from one another, heaps of salt in large lumps 
lie upon hills. At the top of every hill there 
gushes forth from the middle of the salt a 
stream of water, which is both cold and sweet. 
Around dwell men who are the last inhabi- 
tants of Libya on the side of the desert, living, 
as they do, more inland than the wild-beast dis- 
trict. Of these nations the first is that of the 
Ammomans, who dwell at a distance of ten 
days' journey from Thebes, and have a temple 
derived from that of the Theban Jupiter. For 
at Thebes likewise, as I mentioned above, the 
image of Jupiter has a face like that of a ram. 
The Ammonians have another spring besides 
that which rises from the salt. The water of 
this stream is lukewarm at early dawn; at the 
time when the market fills it is much cooler; 
by noon it has grown quite cold; at this time, 
therefore, they water their gardens. As the af- 
ternoon advances the coldness goes off, till, 
about sunset, the water is once more luke- 
warm; still the heat increases, and at midnight 
it boils furiously. After this time it again begins 
to cool, and grows less and less hot till morn- 
ing comes. This spring is called "the Fountain 
of the Sun." 

182. Next to the Ammonians, at the dis- 
tance of ten days' journey along the ridge of 
sand, there is a second salt-hill like the Am- 
monian, and a second spring. The country 
round is inhabited, and the place bears the 
name of Augila. Hither it is that the Nasa- 
monians come to gather in the dates. 

183. Ten days' journey from Augila there 
is again a salt-hill and a spring; palms of the 
fruitful kind grow here abundantly, as they do 
also at the other salt-hills. This region is in- 
habited by a nation called the Garamantians, a 
very powerful people, who cover the salt with 
mould, and then sow their crops. From thence 
is the shortest road to the Lotophagi, a journey 
of thirty days. In the Garamantian country 
are found the oxen which, as they graze, walk 
backwards. This they do because their horns 
curve outwards in front of their heads, so that 
it is not possible for them when grazing to 

move forwards, since in that case their horns 
would become fixed in the ground. Only here- 
in do they differ from other oxen, and further 
in the thickness and hardness of their hides. 
The Garamantians have four-horse chariots, in 
which they chase the Troglodyte Ethiopians, 
who of all the nations whereof any account has 
reached our ears are by far the swiftest of foot. 
The Troglodytes feed on serpents, lizards, and 
other similar reptiles. Their language is unlike 
that of any other people; it sounds like the 
screeching of bats. 

184. At the distance of ten days' journey 
from the Garamantians there is again another 
salt-hill and spring of water; around which 
dwell a people, called the Atarantians, who 
alone of all known nations are destitute of 
names. The title of Atarantians is borne by the 
whole race in common; but the men have no 
particular names of their own. The Ataran- 
tians, when the sun rises high in the heaven, 
curse him, and load him with reproaches, be- 
cause (they say) he burns and wastes both 
their country and themselves. Once more at the 
distance of ten days' journey there is a salt-hill, 
a spring, and an inhabited tract. Near the salt 
is a mountain called Atlas, very taper and 
round; so lofty, moreover, that the top (it is 
said) cannot be seen, the clouds never quitting 
it either summer or winter. The natives call 
this mountain "the Pillar of Heaven"; and they 
themselves take their name from it, being 
called Atlantes. They are reported not to eat any 
living thing, and never .to have any dreams. 

185. As far as the Atlantes the names of 
the nations inhabiting the sandy ridge are 
known to me; but beyond them my knowledge 
fails. The ridge itself extends as far as the Pil- 
lars of Hercules, and even further than these; 
and throughout the whole distance, at the end 
of every ten days' journey, there is a salt-mine, 
with people dwelling round it who all of them 
build their houses with blocks of the salt. No 
rain falls in these parts of Libya; if it were oth- 
erwise, the walls of these houses could not 
stand. The salt quarried is of two colours, 
white and purple. Beyond the ridge, south- 
wards, in the direction of the interior, the 
country is a desert, with no springs, no beasts, 
no rain, no wood, and altogether destitute of 

1 86. Thus from Egypt as far as Lake Tri- 
tonis Libya is inhabited by wandering tribes, 
whose drink is milk and their food the flesh of 
animals. Cow's flesh, however, none of these 
tribes ever taste, but abstain from it for the 

181-192] THE HISTORY 

same reason as the Egyptians, neither do they 
any of them breed swine. Even at Gyrene*, the 
women think it wrong to eat the flesh of the 
cow, honouring in this Isis, the Egyptian god- 
dess, whom they worship both with fasts and 
festivals. The Barcaean women abstain, not from 
cow's flesh only, but also from the flesh of swine. 

187. West of Lake Trit6nis the Libyans are 
no longer wanderers, nor do they practise the 
same customs as the wandering people, or treat 
their children in the same way. For the wan- 
dering Libyans, many of them at any rate, if 
not all concerning which I cannot speak with 
certainty when their children come to the 
age of four years, burn the veins at the top of 
their heads with a flock from the fleece of a 
sheep: others burn the veins about the temples. 
This they do to prevent them from being 
plagued in their after lives by a flow of rheum 
from the head; and such they declare is the 
reason why they are so much more healthy 
than other men. Certainly the Libyans are the 
healthiest men that I know; but whether this is 
what makes them so, or not, I cannot positive- 
ly say the healthiest certainly they are. If 
when the children are being burnt convulsions 
come on, there is a remedy of which they have 
made discovery. It is to sprinkle goat's water 
upon the child, who thus treated, is sure to re- 
cover. In all this I only repeat what is said by 
the Libyans. 

1 88. The rites which the wandering Liby- 
ans use in sacrificing are the following. They 
begin with the ear of the victim, which they 
cut off and throw over their house: this done, 
they kill the animal by twisting the neck. They 
sacrifice to the Sun and Moon, but not to any 
other god. This worship is common to all the 
Libyans. The inhabitants of the parts about 
Lake Tritonis worship in addition Triton, 
Neptune, and Minerva, the last especially. 

189. The dress wherewith Minerva's stat- 
ues are adorned, and her JEgis, were derived 
by the Greeks from the women of Libya. For, 
except that the garments of the Libyan women 
are of leather, and their fringes made of leath- 
ern thongs instead of serpents, in all else the 
dress of both is exactly alike. The name too it- 
self shows that the mode of dressing the Pallas- 
statues came from Libya. For the Libyan wom- 
en wear over their dress goat-skins stript of 
the hair, fringed at their edges, and coloured 
with vermilion; and from these goat-skins the 
Greeks get their word ^Egis (goat-harness). I 
think for my part that the loud cries uttered in 
our sacred rites came also from thence; for the 


Libyan women are greatly given to such cries 
and utter them very sweetly. Likewise the 
Greeks learnt from the Libyans to yoke four 
horses to a chariot. 

190. All the wandering tribes bury their 
dead according to the fashion of the Greeks, ex- 
cept the Nasamonians. They bury them sitting, 
and are right careful when the sick man is at 
the point of giving up the ghost, to make him 
sit and not let him die lying down. The dwell- 
ings of these people are made of the stems of 
the asphodel, and of rushes wattled together. 
They can be carried from place to place. Such 
are the customs of the afore-mentioned tribes. 

191. Westward of the river Triton and ad- 
joining upon the Auseans, are other Libyans 
who till the ground, and live in houses: these 
people are named the Maxyans. They let the 
hair grow long on the right side of their heads, 
and shave it close on the left; they besmear 
their bodies with red paint; and they say that 
they are descended from the men of Troy. 
Their country and the remainder of Libya to- 
wards the west is far fuller of wild beasts and 
of wood than the country of the wandering 
people. For the eastern side of Libya, where the 
wanderers dwell, is low and sandy, as far as 
the river Triton; but westward of that the 
land of the husbandmen is very hilly, and 
abounds with forests and wild beasts. For this 
is the tract in which the huge serpents are 
found, and the lions, the elephants, the bears, 
the aspicks, and the horned asses. Here too are 
the dog-faced creatures, and the creatures 
without heads, whom the Libyans declare to 
have their eyes in their breasts; and also the 
wild men, and wild women, and many other 
far less fabulous beasts. 

192. Among the wanderers are none of 
these, but quite other animals; as antelopes, 
gazelles, buffaloes, and asses, not of the horned 
sort, but of a kind which does not need to 
drink; also oryxes, whose horns are used for 
the curved sides of citherns, and whose size is 
about that of the ox; foxes, hyaenas, porcupines, 
wild rams, dictyes, jackals, panthers, boryes, 
land-crocodiles about three cubits in length, 
very like lizards, ostriches, and little snakes, 
each with a single horn. All these animals are 
found here, and likewise those belonging to 
other countries, except the stag and the wild- 
boar; but neither stag nor wild-boar are found 
in any part of Libya. There are, however, three 
sorts of mice in these parts; the first are called 
two-footed; the next, zegeries, which is a Lib- 
yan word meaning "hills"; and the third, 



[BOOK iv 

urchins. Weasels also are found in the Silphi- 
um region, much like the Tartessian. So many, 
therefore, are the animals belonging to the 
land of the wandering Libyans, in so far at 
least as my researches have been able to reach. 

193. Next to the Maxyan Libyans are the 
Zavecians, whose wives drive their chariots to 

194. On them border the Gyzantians; in 
whose country a vast deal of honey is made by 
bees; very much more, however, by the skill of 
men. The people all paint themselves red, and 
eat monkeys, whereof there is inexhaustible 
store in the hills. 

195. Off their coast, as the Carthaginians re- 
port, lies an island, by name Cyraunis, the 
length of which is two hundred furlongs, its 
breadth not great, and which is soon reached 
from the mainland. Vines and olive trees cov- 
er the whole of it, and there is in the island a 
lake, from which the young maidens of the 
country draw up gold-dust, by dipping into the 
mud birds' feathers smeared with pitch. If 
this be true, I know not; I but write what is 
said. It may be even so, however; since I myself 
have seen pitch drawn up out of the water from 
a lake in Zacynthus. At the place I speak of 
there are a number of lakes; but one is larger 
than the rest, being seventy feet every way, and 
two fathoms in depth. Here they let down a 
pole into the water, with a bunch of myrtle tied 
to one end, and when they raise it again, there 
is pitch sticking to the myrtle, which in smell 
is like to bitumen, but in all else is better than 
the pitch of Pieria. This they pour into a trench 
dug by the lake's side; and when a good deal 
has thus been got together, they draw it off and 
put it up in jars. Whatever falls into the lake 
passes underground, and comes up in the sea, 
which is no less than four furlongs distant. So 
then what is said of the island off the Libyan 
coast is not without likelihood. 

196. The Carthaginians also relate the fol- 
lowing: There is a country in Libya, and a 
nation, beyond the Pillars of Hercules, which 
they are wont to visit, where they no sooner 
arrive but forthwith they unlade their wares, 
and, having disposed them after an orderly 
fashion along the beach, leave them, and, re- 
turning aboard their ships, raise a great smoke. 
The natives, when they see the smoke, come 
down to the shore, and, laying out to view so 
much gold as .they think the worth of the 
wares, withdraw to a distance. The Carthagin- 
ians upon this come ashore and look. If they 
think the gold enough, they take it and go 

their way; but if it does not seem to them suffi- 
cient, they go aboard ship once more, and wait 
patiently. Then the others approach and add 
to their gold, till the Carthaginians are content. 
Neither party deals unfairly by the other: for 
they themselves never touch the gold till it 
comes up to the worth of their goods, nor do 
the natives ever carry off the goods till the gold 
is taken away. 

197. These be the Libyan tribes whereof I 
am able to give the names; and most of these 
cared little then, and indeed care little now, for 
the king of the Medes. One thing more also I 
can add concerning this region, namely, that, 
so far as our knowledge reaches, four nations, 
and no more, inhabit it; and two of these na- 
tions are indigenous, while two are not. The 
two indigenous are the Libyans and Ethiopi- 
ans, who dwell respectively in the north and 
the south of Libya. The Phoenicians and the 
Greek are in-comers. 

198. It seems to me that Libya is not to 
compare for goodness of soil with either Asia 
or Europe, except the Cinyps region, which is 
named after the river that waters it. This piece 
of land is equal to any country in the world for 
cereal crops, and is in nothing like the rest of 
Libya. For the soil here is blaek, and springs of 
water abound; so that there is nothing to fear 
from drought; nor do heavy rains (and it rains 
in that part of Libya) do any harm when they 
soak the ground. The returns of the harvest 
come up to the measure which prevails in Baby- 
lonia. The soil is likewise good in the country 
of the Euesperites; for there the land brings 
forth in the best years a hundred-fold. But the 
Cinyps region yields three hundred-fold. 

199. The country of the Cyrenaeans, which 
is the highest tract within the part of Libya in- 
habited by the wandering tribes, has three 
seasons that deserve remark. First the crops 
along the sea-coast begin to ripen, and are 
ready for the harvest and the vintage; after 
they have been gathered in, the crops of the 
middle tract above the coast region (the hill- 
country, as they call it) need harvesting; while 
about the time when this middle crop is 
housed, the fruits ripen and are fit for cutting 
in the highest tract of all. So that the produce 
of the first tract has been all eaten and drunk 
by the time that the last harvest comes in. And 
the harvest-time of the Cyrenaeans continues 
thus for eight full months. So much concern- 
ing these matters. 

200. When the Persians sent from Egypt by 
Aryandes to help Pheretima reached Barca, 




they laid siege to the town, calling on those 
within to give up the men who had been guilty 
of the murder of Arcesilaiis. The townspeople, 
however, as they had one and all taken part in 
the deed, refused to entertain the proposition. 
So the Persians beleaguered Barca for nine 
months, in the course of which they dug sev- 
eral mines from their own lines to the walls, 
and likewise made a number of vigorous as- 
saults. But their mines were discovered by a 
man who was a worker in brass, who went 
with a brazen shield all round the fortress, and 
laid it on the ground inside the city. In other 
places the shield, when he laid it down, was 
quite dumb; but where the ground was under- 
mined, there the brass of the shield rang. Here, 
therefore, the Barcaeans countermined, and 
slew the Persian diggers. Such was the way in 
which the mines were discovered; as for the 
assaults, the Barcaeans beat them back. 

201. When much time had been consumed, 
and great numbers had fallen on both sides, 
nor had the Persians lost fewer than their ad- 
versaries, Amasis, the leader of the land-army, 
perceiving that, although the Barcaeans would 
never be conquered by force, they might be 
overcome by fraud, contrived as follows. One 
night he dug a wide trench, and laid light 
planks of wood across the opening, after which 
he brought mould and placed it upon the 
planks, taking care to make the place level 
with the surrounding ground. At dawn of day 
he summoned the Barcaeans to a parley: and 
they gladly hearkening, the terms were at 
length agreed upon. Oaths were interchanged 
upon the ground over the hidden trench, and 
the agreement ran thus "So long as the 
ground beneath our feet stands firm, the oath 
shall abide unchanged; the people of Barca 
agree to pay a fair sum to the king, and the 
Persians promise to cause no further trouble 
to the people of Barca." After the oath, the 
Barcaeans, relying upon its terms, threw open 
all their gates, went out themselves beyond the 
walls, and allowed as many of the enemy as 
chose to enter. Then the Persians broke down 
their secret bridge, and rushed at speed into 
the town their reason for breaking the bridge 
being that so they might observe what they 
had sworn; for they had promised the Barcae- 
ans that the oath should continue "so long as 
the ground whereon they stood was firm." 
When, therefore, the bridge was once broken 
down, the oath ceased to hold. 

202. Such of the Barcaeans as were most 
guilty the Persians gave up to Pheretima, who 

nailed them to crosses all round the walls of 
the city. She also cut off the breasts of their 
wives, and fastened them likewise about the 
walls. The remainder of the people she gave 
as booty to the Persians, except only the Bat- 
tiadae and those who had taken no part in 
the murder, to whom she handed over the 
possession of the town. 

203. The Persians now set out on their re- 
turn home, carrying with them the rest of the 
Barcaeans, whom they had made their slaves. 
On their way they came to Gyrene; and the 
Cyrenaeans, out of regard for an oracle, let 
them pass through the town. During the pass- 
age, Bares, the commander of the fleet, ad- 
vised to seize the place; but Amasis, the leader 
of the land-force, would not consent; "be- 
cause," he said, "they had only been charged 
to attack the one Greek city of Barca." When, 
however, they had passed through the town, 
and were encamped upon the hill of Lycaean 
Jove, it repented them that they had not seized 
Gyrene, and they endeavoured to enter it a 
second time. The Cyrenaeans, however, would 
not suffer this; whereupon, though no one 
appeared to offer them battle, yet a panic 
came upon the Persians, and they ran a dis- 
tance of full sixty furlongs before they pitched 
their camp. Here as they lay, a messenger 
came to them from Aryandes, ordering them 
home. Then the Persians besought the men of 
Gyrene to give them provisions for the way, 
and, these consenting, they set off on their re- 
turn to Egypt. But the Libyans now beset them, 
and, for the sake of their clothes and harness, 
slew all who dropped behind and straggled, 
during the whole march homewards. 

204. The furthest point of Libya reached by 
this Persian host was the city of Euesperides. 
The Barcaeans carried into slavery were sent 
from Egypt to the king; and Darius assigned 
them a village in Bactria for their dwelling- 
place. To this village they gave the name of 
Barca, and it was to my time an inhabited 
place in Bactria. 

205. Nor did Pheretima herself end her 
days happily. For on her return to Egypt from 
Libya, directly after taking vengeance on the 
people of Barca, she was overtaken by a most 
horrid death. Her body swarmed with worms, 
which ate her flesh while she was still alive. 
Thus do men, by over-harsh punishments, 
draw down upon themselves the anger of the 
gods. Such then, and so fierce, was the ven- 
geance which Pheretima, daughter of Battus, 
took upon the Barcaeans. 

The Fifth Book, Entitled 

i. The Persians left behind by King Darius in 
Europe, who had Megabazus for their general, 
reduced, before any other Hellespontine state, 
the people of Perinthus, who had no mind to 
become subjects of the king. Now the Perinth- 
ians had ere this been roughly handled by 
another nation, the Paeonians. For the Paeoni- 
ans from about the Strymon were once bidden 
by an oracle to make war upon the Perinthians, 
and if these latter, when the camps faced one 
another, challenged them by name to fight, 
then to venture on a battle, but if otherwise, 
not to make the hazard. The Paeonians fol- 
lowed the advice. Now the men of Perinthus 
drew out to meet them in the skirts of their 
city; and a threefold single combat was fought 
on challenge given. Man to man, and horse to 
horse, and dog to dog, was the strife waged; 
and the Perinthians, winners of two combats 
out of the three, in their joy had raised the 
paean; when the Paeonians, struck by the 
thought that this was what the oracle had 
meant, passed the word one to another, say- 
ing, "Now of a surety has the oracle been ful- 
filled for us; now our work begins." Then the 
Paeonians set upon the Perinthians in the midst 
of their paean, and defeated them utterly, leav- 
ing but few of them alive. 

2. Such was the affair of the Paeonians, 
which happened a long time previously. At 
this time the Perinthians, after a brave struggle 
for freedom, were overcome by numbers, and 
yielded to Megabazus and his Persians. After 
Perinthus had been brought under, Megabazus 
led his host through Thrace, subduing to the 
dominion of the king all the towns and all the 
nations of those parts. For the king's com- 
mand to him was that he should conquer 

3. The Thracians are the most powerful 
people in the world, except, of course, the In- 
dians; and if they had one head, or were 

agreed among themselves, it is my belief that 
their match could not be found anywhere, and 
that they would very far surpass all other na- 
tions. But such union is impossible for them, 
and there are no means of ever bringing it 
about. Herein therefore consists their weak- 
ness. The Thracians bear many names in the 
different regions of their country, but all of 
them have like usages in every respect, ex- 
cepting only the Getae, the Trausi, and those 
who dwell above the people of Creston. 

4. Now the manners and customs of the 
Getae, who believe in their immortality, I have 
already spoken of. The Trausi in all else re- 
semble the other Thracians, but have customs 
at births and deaths which I will now describe. 
When a child is born all its kindred sit round 
about it in a circle and weep for the woes it 
will have to undergo now that it is come into 
the world, making mention of every ill that 
falls to the lot of humankind; when, on the 
other hand, a man has died, they bury him 
with laughter and rejoicings, and say that now 
he is free from a host of sufferings, and enjoys 
the completest happiness. 

5. The Thracians who live above the Cre- 
stonaeans observe the following customs. Each 
man among them has several wives; and no 
sooner does a man die than a sharp contest en- 
sues among the wives upon the question 
which of them all the husband loved most 
tenderly; the friends of each eagerly plead on 
her behalf, and she to whom the honour is 
adjudged, after receiving the praises both of 
men and women, is slain over the grave by the 
hand of her next of kin, and then buried with 
her husband. The others are sorely grieved, for 
nothing is considered such a disgrace. 

6. The Thracians who do not belong to 
these tribes have the customs which follow. 
They sell their children to traders. On their 
maidens they keep no watch, but leave them 




altogether free, while on the conduct of their 
wives they keep a most strict watch. Brides are 
purchased of their parents for large sums of 
money. Tattooing among them marks noble 
birth, and the want of it low birth. To be idle 
is accounted the most honourable thing, and 
to be a tiller of the ground the most dishonour- 
able. To live by war and plunder is of all 
things the most glorious. These are the most 
remarkable of their customs. 

7. The gods which they worship are but 
three, Mars, Bacchus, and Dian. Their kings, 
however, unlike the rest of the citizens, wor- 
ship Mercury more than any other god, always 
swearing by his name, and declaring that they 
are themselves sprung from him. 

8. Their wealthy ones are buried in the fol- 
lowing fashion. The body is laid out for three 
days; and during this time they kill victims of 
all kinds, and feast upon them, after first be- 
wailing the departed. Then they either burn 
the body or else bury it in the ground. Lastly, 
they raise a mound over the grave, and hold 
games of all sorts, wherein the single combat is 
awarded the highest prize. Such is the mode of 
burial among the Thracians. 

9. As regards the region lying north of this 
country no one can say with any certainty what 
men inhabit it. It appears that you no sooner 
cross the Ister than you enter on an intermin- 
able wilderness. The only people of whom I 
can hear as dwelling beyond the Ister are the 
race named Sigynnae, who wear, they say, a 
dress like the Medes, and have horses which 
are covered entirely with a coat of shaggy 
hair, five fingers in length. They are a small 
breed, flat-nosed, and not strong enough to 
bear men on their backs; but when yoked to 
chariots, they are among the swiftest known, 
which is the reason why the people of that 
country use chariots. Their borders reach down 
almost to the Eneti upon the Adriatic Sea, and 
they call themselves colonists of the Medes; but 
how they can be colonists of the Medes I for 
my part cannot imagine. Still nothing is im- 
possible in the long lapse of ages. Sigynnae is 
the name which the Ligurians who dwell 
above Massilia give to traders, while among the 
Cyprians the word means spears. 

10. According to the account which the 
Thracians give, the country beyond the Ister is 
possessed by bees, 1 on account of which it is 
impossible to penetrate farther. But in this they 
seem to me to say what has no likelihood; for 
it is certain that those creatures are very im- 

1 In reality, mosquitoes. 

patient of cold. I rather believe that it is on 
account of the cold that the regions which lie 
under the Bear are without inhabitants. Such 
then are the accounts given of this country, the 
sea-coast whereof Megabazus was now em- 
ployed in subjecting to the Persians. 

11. King Darius had no sooner crossed the 
Hellespont and reached Sardis, than he be- 
thought himself of the good deed of Histiaeus 
the Milesian, and the good counsel of the Myti- 
lenean Goes. He therefore sent for both of 
them to Sardis, and bade them each crave a 
boon at his hands. Now Histiaeus, as he was 
already king of Miletus, did not make request 
for any government besides, but asked Darius 
to give him Myrcinus of the Edonians, where 
he wished to build him a city. Such was the 
choice that Histiaeus made. Goes, on the other 
hand, as he was a mere burgher, and not a 
king, requested the sovereignty of Mytilene. 
Both alike obtained their requests, and straight- 
way betook themselves to the places which 
they had chosen. 

12. It chanced in the meantime that King 
Darius saw a sight which determined him to 
bid Megabazus remove the Paeomans from 
their seats in Europe and transport them to 
Asia. There were two Paeonians, Pigres and 
Mantyes, whose ambition it was to obtain the 
sovereignty over their countrymen. As soon 
therefore as ever Darius crossed into Asia, 
these men came to Sardis, and brought with 
them their sister, who was a tall and beautiful 
woman. Having so done, they waited till a day 
came when the king sat in state in the suburb 
of the Lydians; and then dressing their sister 
in the richest gear they could, sent her to draw 
water for them. She bore a pitcher upon her 
head, and with one arm led a horse, while all 
the way as she went she span flax. Now as she 
passed by where the king was, Darius took 
notice of her; for it was neither like the Per- 
sians nor the Lydians, nor any of the dwellers 
in Asia, to do as she did. Darius accordingly 
noted her, and ordered some of his guard to 
follow her steps, and watch to see what she 
would do with the horse. So the spearmen 
went; and the woman, when she came to the 
river, first watered the horse, and then filling 
the pitcher, came back the same way she had 
gone, with the pitcher of water upon her head, 
and the horse dragging upon her arm, while 
she still kept twirling the spindle. 

13. King Darius was full of wonder both at 
what they who had watched the woman told 
him, and at what he had himself seen. So he 


commanded that she should be brought before 
him. And the woman came; and with her ap- 
peared her brothers, who had been watching 
everything a little way off. Then Darius asked 
them of what nation the woman was; and the 
young men replied that they were Paeonians, 
and she was their sister. Darius rejoined by 
asking, "Who the Pseonians were, and in what 
part of the world they lived? and, further, 
what business had brought the young men to 
Sardis?" Then the brothers told him they had 
come to put themselves under his power, and 
Paeonia was a country upon the river Strymon, 
and the Strymon was at no great distance from 
the Hellespont. The Paeonians, they said, were 
colonists of the Teucnans from Troy. When 
they had thus answered his questions, Darius 
asked if all the women of their country worked 
so hard? Then the brothers eagerly answered, 
Yes; for this was the very object with which 
the whole thing had been done. 

14. So Darius wrote letters to Megabazus, 
the commander whom he had left behind in 
Thrace, and ordered him to remove the Paeoni- 
ans from their own land, and bring them into 
his presence, men, women, and children. And 
straightway a horseman took the message, and 
rode at speed to the Hellespont; and, crossing 
it, gave the paper to Megabazus. Then Mega- 
bazus, as soon as he had read it, and procured 
guides from Thrace, made war upon Paeonia. 

15. Now when the Paeonians heard that the 
Persians were marching against them, they gath- 
ered themselves together, and marched down 
to the sea-coast, since they thought the Persians 
would endeavour to enter their country on that 
side. Here then they stood in readiness to op- 
pose the army of Megabazus. But the Persians, 
who knew that they had collected, and were 
gone to keep guard at the pass near the sea, got 
guides, and taking the inland route before the 
Paeonians were aware, poured down upon 
their cities, from which the men had all 
marched out; and finding them empty, easily 
got possession of them. Then the men, when 
they heard that all their towns were taken, 
scattered this way and that to their homes, and 
gave themselves up to the Persians. And so 
these tribes of the Paeonians, to wit, the Siropz- 
onians, the Paeoplians, and all the others as far 
as Lake Prasias, were torn from their seats and 
led away into Asia. 

1 6. They on the other hand who dwelt 
about Mount Pangaeum and in the country of 
the Doberes, the Agrianians, and the Odoman- 
tians, and they likewise who inhabited Lake 

[BooK v 

Prasias, were not conquered by Megabazus. 
He sought indeed to subdue the dwellers upon 
the lake, but could not effect his purpose. 
Their manner of living is the following. Plat- 
forms supported upon tall piles stand in the 
middle of the lake, which are approached from 
the land by a single narrow bridge. At the first 
the piles which bear up the platforms were 
fixed in their places by the whole body of the 
citizens, but since that time the custom which 
has prevailed about fixing them is this: they 
are brought from a hill called Orbelus, and 
every man drives in three for each wife that he 
marries. Now the men have all many wives 
apiece; and this is the way in which they live. 
Each has his own hut, wherein he dwells, upon 
one of the platforms, and each has also a trap- 
door giving access to the lake beneath; and 
their wont is to tie their baby children by the 
foot with a string, to save them from rolling 
into the water. They feed their horses and 
their other beasts upon fish, which abound in 
the lake to such a degree that a man has only 
to open his trap-door and to let down a basket 
by a rope into the water, and then to wait a 
very short time, when he draws it up quite 
full of them. The fish are of two kinds, which 
they call the paprax and the tilon. 

17. The Paeonians therefore at least such 
of them as had been conquered were led 
away into Asia. As for Megabazus, he no soon- 
er brought the Paeonians under, than he sent 
into Macedonia an embassy of Persians, choos- 
ing for the purpose the seven men of most note 
in all the army after himself. These persons 
were to go to Amyntas, and require him to 
give earth and water to King Darius. Now 
there is a very short cut from the Lake Prasias 
across to Macedonia. Quite close to the lake is 
the mine which yielded afterwards a talent of 
silver a day to Alexander; and from this mine 
you have only to cross the mountain called 
Dys6rum to find yourself in the Macedonian 

1 8. So the Persians sent upon this errand, 
when they reached the court, and were 
brought into the presence of Amyntas, re- 
quired him to give earth and water to King 
Darius. And Amyntas not only gave them 
what they asked, but also invited them to 
come and feast with him; after which he made 
ready the board with great magnificence, and 
entertained the Persians in right friendly fash- 
ion. Now when the meal was over, and they 
were all set to the drinking, the Persians said 

"Dear Macedonian, we Persians have a cus- 


torn when we make a great feast to bring with 
us to the board our wives and concubines, and 
make them sit beside us. Now then, as thou 
hast received us so kindly, and feasted us so 
handsomely, and givest moreover earth and 
water to King Darius, do also after our custom 
in this matter." 

Then Amyntas answered "O, Persians! we 
have no such custom as this; but with us men 
and women are kept apart. Nevertheless, since 
you, who are our lords, wish it, this also shall 
be granted to you." 

When Amyntas had thus spoken, he bade 
some go and fetch the women. And the wom- 
en came at his call and took their seats in a 
row over against the Persians. Then, when the 
Persians saw that the women were fair and 
comely, they spoke again to Amyntas and said, 
that "what had been done was not wise; for it 
had been better for the women not to have 
come at all, than to come in this way, and not 
sit by their sides, but remain over against 
them, the torment of their eyes." So Amyntas 
was forced to bid the women sit side by side 
with the Persians. The women did as he or- 
dered; and then the Persians, who had drunk 
more than they ought, began to put their hands 
on them, and one even tried to give the woman 
next him a kiss. 

19. King Amyntas saw, but he kept silence, 
although sorely grieved, for he greatly feared 
the power of the Persians. Alexander, however, 
Amyntas' son, who was likewise there and 
witnessed the whole, being a young man and 
unacquainted with suffering, could not any 
longer restrain himself. He therefore, full of 
wrath, spake thus to Amyntas: "Dear father, 
thou art old and shouldst spare thyself. Rise 
up from table and go take thy rest; do not stay 
out the drinking. I will remain with the guests 
and give them all that is fitting." 

Amyntas, who guessed that Alexander would 
play some wild prank, made answer: "Dear 
son, thy words sound to me as those of one who 
is well nigh on fire, and I perceive thou sendest 
me away that thou mayest do some wild deed. 
I beseech thee make no commotion about 
these men, lest thou bring us all to ruin, but 
bear to look calmly on what they do. For my- 
self, I will e'en withdraw as thou biddest me." 

20. Amyntas, when he had thus besought 
his son, went out; and Alexander said to the 
Persians, "Look on these ladies as your own, 
dear strangers, all or any of them only tell us 
your wishes. But now, as the evening wears, 
and I see you have all had wine enough, let 



them, if you please, retire, and when they have 
bathed they shall come back again." To this 
the Persians agreed, and Alexander, having got 
the women away, sent them off to the harem, 
and made ready in their room an equal num- 
ber of beardless youths, whom he dressed in 
the garments of the women, and then, arming 
them with daggers, brought them in to the 
Persians, saying as he introduced them, "Me- 
thinks, dear Persians, that your entertainment 
has fallen short in nothing. We have set before 
you all that we had ourselves in store, and all 
that we could anywhere find to give you and 
now, to crown the whole, we make over to 
you our sisters and our mothers, that you may 
perceive yourselves to be entirely honoured by 
us, even as you deserve to be and also that 
you may take back word to the king who sent 
you here, that there was one man, a Greek, 
the satrap of Macedonia, by whom you were 
both feasted and lodged handsomely." So 
speaking, Alexander set by the side of each 
Persian one of those whom he had called Mac- 
edonian women, but who were in truth men. 
And these men, when the Persians began to be 
rude, despatched them with their daggers. 

21. So the ambassadors perished by this 
death, both they and also their followers. For 
the Persians had brought a great train with 
them, carriages, and attendants, and baggage 
of every kind all of which disappeared at the 
same time as the men themselves. Not very 
long afterwards the Persians made strict search 
for their lost embassy; but Alexander, with 
much wisdom, hushed up the business, brib- 
ing those sent on the errand, partly with 
money, and partly with the gift of his own 
sister Gygaea, whom he gave in marriage to 
Bubares, a Persian, the chief leader of the ex- 

pedition which came in search of the lost men. 
Thus the death of these Persians was hushed 
up, and no more was said of it. 

22. Now that the men of this family are 
Greeks, sprung from Perdiccas, as they them- 
selves affirm, is a thing which I can declare of 
my own knowledge, and which I will here- 
after make plainly evident. That they are so 
has been already adjudged by those who man- 
age the Pan-Hellenic contest at Olympia. For 
when Alexander wished to contend in the 
games, and had come to Olympia with no 
other view, the Greeks who were about to run 
against him would have excluded him from 
the contest saying that Greeks only were al- 
lowed to contend, and not barbarians. But Al- 
exander proved himself to be an Argive, and 



[BOOK v 

was distinctly adjudged a Greek; after which 
he entered the lists for the foot-race, and was 
drawn to run in the first pair. Thus was this 
matter settled. 

23. Megabazus, having reached the Helles- 
pont with the Paeonians, crossed it, and went up 
to Sardis. He had become aware while in Eu- 
rope that Histiaeus the Milesian was raising a 
wall at Myrcinus the town upon the Strymon 
which he had obtained from King Darius as 
his guerdon for keeping the bridge. No sooner 
therefore did he reach Sardis with the Paeoni- 
ans than he said to Danus, "What mad thing 
is this that thou hast done, sire, to let a Greek, 
a wise man and a shrewd, get hold of a town 
in Thrace, a place too where there is abun- 
dance of timber fit for shipbuilding, and oars 
in plenty, and mines of silver, and about which 
are many dwellers both Greek and barbarian, 
ready enough to take him for their chief, and 
by day and night to do his bidding! I pray thee 
make this man cease his work, if thou 
wouldest not be entangled in a war with thine 
own followers. Stop him, but with a gentle 
message, only bidding him to come to thee. 
Then when thou once hast him in thy power, 
be sure thou take good care that he never get 
back to Greece again/' 

24. With these words Megabazus easily per- 
suaded Darius, who thought he had shown 
true foresight in this matter. Darius therefore 
sent a messenger to Myrcinus, who said, 
"These be the words of the king to thee, O His- 
tiaeus' I have looked to find a man well affec- 
tioned towards me and towards my greatness; 
and I have found none whom I can trust like 
thee. Thy deeds, and not thy words only, have 
proved thy love for me. Now then, since I have 
a mighty enterprise in hand, I pray thee come 
to me, that I may show thee what I purpose!" 

Histiaeus, when he heard this, put faith in 
the words of the messenger; and, as it seemed 
to him a grand thing to be the king's counsel- 
lor, he straightway went up to Sardis. Then 
Darius, when he was come, said to him, "Dear 
Histiaeus, hear why I have sent for thee. No 
sooner did I return from Scythia, and lose thee 
out of my sight, than I longed, as I have never 
longed for aught else, to behold thee once 
more, and to interchange speech with thee. 
Right sure I am there is nothing in all the 
world so precious as a friend who is at once 
wise and true: both which thou art, as I have 
had good proof in what thou hast already done 
for me. Now then 'tis well thou art come; for 
look, I have an offer to make to thee. Let go 

Miletus and thy newly-founded town in 
Thrace, and come with me up to Susa; share 
all that I have; live with me, and be my coun- 

25. When Darius had thus spoken he made 
Artaphernes, his brother by the father's side, 
governor of Sardis, and taking Histiaeus with 
him, went up to Susa. He left as general of all 
the troops upon the sea-coast Otanes, son of 
Sisamnes, whose father King Cambyses slew 
and flayed, because that he, being of the num- 
ber of the royal judges, had taken money to 
give an unrighteous sentence. Therefore Cam- 
byses slew and flayed Sisamnes, and cutting his 
skin into strips, stretched them across the seat 
of the throne whereon he had been wont to sit 
when he heard causes. Having so done Cam- 
byses appointed the son of Sisamnes to be 
judge in his father's room, and bade him never 
forget in what way his seat was cushioned. 

26. Accordingly this Otanes, who had oc- 
cupied so strange a throne, became the succes- 
sor of Megabazus in his command, and took 
first of all Byzantium and Chalcedon, then 
Antandrus in the Troas, and next Lamponi- 
um. This done, he borrowed ships of the Les- 
bians, and took Lemnos and Imbrus, which 
were still inhabited by Pelasgians. 

27. Now the Lemnians stood on their de- 
fence, and fought gallantly; but they were 
brought low in course of time. Such as out- 
lived the struggle were placed by the Persians 
under the government of Lycaretus, the broth- 
er of that Maeandrius who was tyrant of Samos. 
(This Lycaretus died afterwards in his govern- 
ment.) The cause which Otanes alleged for 
conquering and enslaving all these nations 
was that some had refused to join the king's 
army against Scythia, while others had mo- 
lested the host on its return. Such were the ex- 
ploits which Otanes performed in his com- 

28. Afterwards, but for no long time, there 
was a respite from suffering. Then from Na- 
zos and Miletus troubles gathered anew about 
Ionia. Now Naxos at this time surpassed all 
the other islands in prosperity, and Miletus 
had reached the height of her power, and was 
the glory of Ionia. But previously for two gen- 
erations the Milesians had suffered grievously 
from civil disorders, which were composed by 
the Parians, whom the Milesians chose before 
all the rest of the Greeks to rearrange their 

29. Now the way in which the Parians 
healed their differences was the following. A 



number of the chief Parians came to Miletus, 
and when they saw in how ruined a condition 
the Milesians were, they said that they would 
like first to go over their country. So they went 
through all Milesia, and on their way, when- 
ever they saw in the waste and desolate country 
any N land that was well farmed, they took 
down\the names of the owners in their tablets; 
and having thus gone through the whole re- 
gion, a\nd obtained after all but few names, 
they cajled the people together on their return 
to Mildtus, and made proclamation that they 
gave tme government into the hands of those 
person^ whose lands they had found well 
farmed; for they thought it likely (they said) 
that /the same persons who had managed their 
owtf affairs well would likewise conduct aright 
the 7 business of the state. The other Milesians, 
who in time past had been at variance, they 
placed under the rule of these men. Thus was 
the Milesian government set in order by the 

30. It was, however, from the two cities 
above mentioned that troubles began now to 
gather again about Ionia; and this is the way 
in which they arose. Certain of the rich men 
had been banished from Naxos by the com- 
monalty, and, upon their banishment, had fled 
to Miletus. Aristagoras, son of Molpagoras, the 
nephew and likewise the son-in-law of Histiae- 
us, son of Lysagoras, who was still kept by 
Darius at Susa, happened to be regent of Mile- 
tus at the time of their coming. For the kingly 
power belonged to Histiaeus; but he was at 
Susa when the Naxians came. Now these Nax- 
ians had in times past been bond-friends of 
Histiaeus; and so on their arrival at Miletus 
they addressed themselves to Aristagoras and 
begged him to lend them such aid as his abil- 
ity allowed, in hopes thereby to recover their 
country. Then Aristagoras, considering with 
himself that, if the Naxians should be restored 
by his help, he would be lord of Naxos, put for- 
ward the friendship with Histiaeus to cloak 
his views, and spoke as follows: 

"I cannot engage to furnish you with such 
a power as were needful to force you, against 
their will, upon the Naxians who hold the 
city; for I know they can bring into the field 
eight thousand bucklers, and have also a vast 
number of ships of war. But I will do all that 
lies in my power to get you some aid, and I 
think I can manage it in this way. Artaphernes 
happens to be my friend. Now he is a son of 
Hystaspes, and brother to King Darius. All 
the sea-coast of Asia is under him, and he has 

a numerous army and numerous ships. I think 
I can prevail on him to do what we require." 

When the Naxians heard this, they empow- 
ered Aristagoras to manage the matter for 
them as well as he could, and told him to 
promise gifts and pay for the soldiers, which 
(they said) they would readily furnish, since 
they had great hope that the Naxians, so soon 
as they saw them returned, would render them 
obedience, and likewise the other islanders. 
For at that time not one of the Cyclades was 
subject to King Darius. 

31. So Aristagoras went to Sardis and told 
Artaphernes that Naxos was an island of no 
great size, but a fair land and fertile, lying 
near Ionia, and containing much treasure and 
a vast number of slaves. "Make war then upon 
this land (he said) and reinstate the exiles; for 
if thou wilt do this, first of all, I have very rich 
gifts in store for thee (besides the cost of the 
armament, which it is fair that we who are the 
authors of the war should pay); and, secondly, 
thou wilt bring under the power of the king 
not only Naxos but the other islands which de- 
pend on it, as Paros, Andros, and all the rest 
of the Cyclades. And when thou hast gained 
these, thou mayest easily go on against Euboea, 
which is a large and wealthy island not less in 
size than Cyprus, and very easy to bring un- 
der. A hundred ships were quite enough to 
subdue the whole." The other answered 
"Truly thou art the author of a plan which 
may much advantage the house of the king, 
and thy counsel is good in all points except the 
number of the ships. Instead of a hundred, two 
hundred shall be at thy disposal when the 
spring comes. But the king himself must first 
approve the undertaking." 

32. When Aristagoras heard this he was 
greatly rejoiced, and went home in good heart 
to Miletus. And Artaphernes, after he had sent 
a messenger to Susa to lay the plans of Arista- 
goras before the king, and received his ap- 
proval of the undertaking, made ready a fleet 
of two hundred triremes and a vast army of 
Persians and their confederates. The command 
of these he gave to a Persian named Mega- 
bates, who belonged to the house of the Achae- 
menids, being nephew both to himself and to 
King Darius. It was to a daughter of this man 
that Pausanias the Lacedaemonian, the son of 
Cleombrotus (if at least there be any truth in 
the tale), was affianced many years afterwards, 
when he conceived the desire of becoming ty- 
rant of Greece. Artaphernes now, having 
named Megabates to the command, sent for- 



ward the armament to Aristagoras. 

33. Megabates set sail, and, touching at 
Miletus, took on hoard Aristagoras with the 
Ionian troops and the Naxians; after which he 
steered, as he gave out, for the Hellespont; and 
when he reached Chios, he brought the fleet to 
anchor off Caucasa, being minded to wait there 
for a north wind, and then sail straight to 
Naxos. The Naxians however were not to per- 
ish at this time; and so the following events 
were brought about. As Megabates went his 
rounds to visit the watches on board the ships, 
he found a Myndian vessel upon which there 
was none set. Full of anger at such carelessness, 
he bade his guards to seek out the captain, one 
Scylax by name, and thrusting him through 
one of the holes in the ship's side, to fasten him 
there in such a way that his head might show 
outside the vessel, while his body remained 
within. When Scylax was thus fastened, one 
went and informed Aristagoras that Mega- 
bates had bound his Myndian friend and was 
entreating him shamefully. So he came and 
asked Megabates to let the man off; but the 
Persian refused him; whereupon Aristagoras 
went himself and set Scylax free. When Mega- 
bates heard this he was still more angry than 
before, and spoke hotly to Aristagoras. Then 
the latter said to him 

"What has thou to do with these matters? 
Wert thou not sent here by Artaphernes to 
obey me, and to sail whithersoever I ordered? 
Why dost meddle so?" 

Thus spake Aristagoras. The other, in high 
dudgeon at such language, waited till the 
night, and then despatched a boat to Naxos, 
to warn the Naxians of the coming danger. 

34. Now the Naxians up to this time had 
not had any suspicion that the armament was 
directed against them; as soon, therefore, as 
the message reached them, forthwith they 
brought within their walls all that they had in 
the open field, and made themselves ready 
against a siege by provisioning their town both 
with food and drink. Thus was Naxos placed 
in a posture of defence; and the Persians, when 
they crossed the sea from Chios, found the 
Naxians fully prepared for them. However 
they sat down before the place, and besieged it 
for four whole months. When at length all the 
stores which they had brought with them were 
exhausted, and Aristagoras had likewise spent 
upon the siege no small sum from his private 
means, and more was still needed to insure 
success, the Persians gave up the attempt, and 
first building certain forts, wherein they left 

[BooK v 

the banished Naxians, withdrew to the main- 
land, having utterly failed in their undertak- 

35. And now Aristagoras found himself 
quite unable to make good his promises to 
Artaphernes; nay, he was even hard pressed 
to meet the claims whereto he was liable for 
the pay of the troops; and at the same time his 
fear was great, lest, owing to the failure of the 
expedition and his own quarrel with Mega- 
bates, he should be ousted from the govern- 
ment of Miletus. These manifold alarms had 
already caused him to contemplate raising a 
rebellion, when the man with the marked head 
came from Susa, bringing him instructions on 
the part of Histiaeus to revolt from the king. 
For Histiaeus, when he was anxious to give 
Aristagoras orders to revolt, could find but one 
safe way, as the roads were guarded, of mak- 
ing his wishes known; which was by taking 
the trustiest of his slaves, shaving all the hair 
from off his head, and then pricking letters 
upon the skin, and waiting till the hair grew 
again. Thus accordingly he did; and as soon as 
ever the hair was grown, he despatched the 
man to Miletus, giving him no other message 
than this "When thou art come to Miletus, 
bid Aristagoras shave thy head, and look there- 
on." Now the marks on the head, as I have al- 
ready mentioned, were a command to revolt. 
All this Histiaeus did because it irked him 
greatly to be kept at Susa, and because he had 
strong hopes that, if troubles broke out, he 
would be sent down to the coast to quell them, 
whereas, if Miletus made no movement, he did 
not see a chance of his ever again returning 

36. Such, then, were the views which led 
Histiaeus to despatch his messenger; and it so 
chanced that all these several motives to revolt 
were brought to bear upon Aristagoras at one 
and the same time. 

Accordingly, at this conjuncture Aristagoras 
held a council of his trusty friends, and laid 
the business before them, telling them both 
what he had himself purposed, and what mes- 
sage had been sent him by Histiaeus. At this 
council all his friends were of the same way of 
thinking, and recommended revolt, except 
only Hecatauis the historian. He, first of all, 
advised them by all means to avoid engaging in 
war with the king of the Persians, whose 
might he set forth, and whose subject nations 
he enumerated. As however he could not in- 
duce them to listen to this counsel, he next ad- 
vised that they should do all that lay in their 




power to make themselves masters of the sea. 
"There was one only way," he said, "so far as 
he could see, of their succeeding in this. Mile- 
tus was, he knew, a weak state but if the 
treasures in the temple at Branchidae, which 
Croesus the Lydian gave to it, were seized, he 
had strong hopes that the mastery of the sea 
might be thereby gained; at least it would give 
them money to begin the war, and would save 
the treasures from falling into the hands of the 
enemy." Now these treasures were of very 
great value, as I showed in the first part of my 
History. The assembly, however, rejected the 
counsel of Hecataeus, while, nevertheless, they 
resolved upon a revolt. One of their number, 
it was agreed, should sail to Myus, where the 
fleet had been lying since its return from Nax- 
os, and endeavour to seize the captains who 
had gone there with the vessels. 

37. latragoras accordingly was despatched 
on this errand, and he took with guile Oliatus 
the son of Ibanolis the Mylassian, and Histiae- 
us the son of Tymnes the Termerean Goes 
likewise, the son of Erxander, to whom Darius 
gave Mytilene, and Aristagoras the son of Her- 
aclides the Cymaean, and also many others. 
Thus Aristagoras revolted openly from Dari- 
us; and now he set to work to scheme against 
him in every possible way. First of all, in or- 
der to induce the Milesians to join heartily in 
the revolt, he gave out that he laid down his 
own lordship over Miletus, and in lieu thereof 
established a commonwealth: after which, 
throughout all Ionia he did the like; for from 
some of the cities he drove out their tyrants, 
and to others, whose goodwill he hoped there- 
by to gain, he handed theirs over, thus giving 
up all the men whom he had seized at the Nax- 
ian fleet, each to the city whereto he belonged. 

38. Now the Mytileneans had no sooner got 
Goes into their power, than they led him forth 
from the city and stoned him; the Cymaeans, 
on the other hand, allowed their tyrant to go 
free; as likewise did most of the others. And 
so this form of government ceased throughout 
all the cities. Aristagoras the Milesian, after he 
had in this way put down the tyrants, and 
bidden the cities choose themselves captains in 
their room, sailed away himself on board a 
trireme to Lacedaemon; for he had great need 
of obtaining the aid of some powerful ally. 

39. At Sparta, Anaxandridas the son of Leo 
was no longer king: he had died, and his son 
Cleomenes had mounted the throne, not how- 
ever by right of merit, but of birth. Anaxan- 
dridas took to wife his own sister's daughter, 

and was tenderly attached to her; but no chil- 
dren came from the marriage. Hereupon the 
Ephors called him before them, and said "If 
thou hast no care for thine own self, neverthe- 
less we cannot allow this, nor suffer the race 
of Eurysthenes to die out from among us. 
Come then, as thy present wife bears thee no 
children, put her away, and wed another. So 
wilt thou do what is well-pleasing to the Spar- 
tans." Anaxandridas however refused to do as 
they required, and said it was no good advice 
the Ephors gave, to bid him put away his wife 
when she had done no wrong, and take to him- 
self another. He therefore declined to obey 

40. Then the Ephors and Elders took coun- 
sel together, and laid this proposal before the 
king: "Since thou art so fond, as we see thee 
to be, of thy present wife, do what we now ad- 
vise, and gainsay us not, lest the Spartans make 
some unwonted decree concerning thee. We 
ask thee not now to put away thy wife to 
whom thou art married give her still the 
same love and honour as ever but take thee 
another wife beside, who may bear thee chil- 

When he heard this offer, Anaxandridas 
gave way and henceforth he lived with two 
wives in two separate houses, quite against all 
Spartan custom. 

41. In a short time, the wife whom he had 
last married bore him a son, who received the 
name of Cleomenes; and so the heir to the 
throne was brought into the world by her. Af- 
ter this, the first wife also, who in time past 
had been barren, by some strange chance con- 
ceived, and came to be with child. Then the 
friends of the second wife, when they heard a 
rumour of the truth, made a great stir, and 
said it was a false boast, and she meant, they 
were sure, to bring forward as her own a sup- 
posititious child. So they raised an outcry 
against her; and therefore, when her full time 
was come, the Ephors, who were themselves 
incredulous, sat round her bed, and kept a 
strict watch on the labour. At this time then 
she bore Dorieus, and after him, quickly, Le- 
onidas, and after him, again quickly, Cleom- 
brotus. Some even say that Leonidas and Cle- 
ombrotus were twins. On the other hand, the 
second wife, the mother of Cleomenes (who 
was a daughter of Prinetadas, the son of Dc- 
marmenus), never gave birth to a second 

42. Now Cleomenes, it is said, was not right 
in his mind; indeed he verged upon madness; 



[ BOOK v 

while Dorieus surpassed all his co-mates, and 
looked confidently to receiving the kingdom 
on the score of merit. When, therefore, after 
the death of Anaxandridas, the Spartans kept 
to the law, and made Cleomenes, his eldest son, 
king in his room, Dorieus, who had imagined 
that he should be chosen, and who could not 
bear the thought of having such a man as Cle- 
omenes to rule over him, asked the Spartans to 
give him a body of men, and left Sparta with 
them in order to found a colony. However, he 
neither took counsel of the oracle at Delphi as 
to the place whereto he should go, nor observed 
any of the customary usages; but left Sparta 
in dudgeon, and sailed away to Libya, under 
the guidance of certain men who were Therae- 
ans. These men brought him to Cinyps, where 
he colonised a spot, which has not its equal in 
all Libya, on the banks of a river: but from 
this place he was driven in the third year by 
the Macians, the Libyans, and the Carthagini- 

43. Dorieus returned to the Peloponnese; 
whereupon Antichares the Eleonian gave him 
a counsel (which he got from the oracle of 
Lai'us), to "found the city of Heraclea in Sic- 
ily; the whole country of Eryx belonged," he 
said, "to the Heraclcids, since Hercules him- 
self conquered it." On receiving this advice, 
Dorieus went to Delphi to inquire of the ora- 
cle whether he would take the place to which 
he was about to go. The Pythoness prophesied 
that he would; whereupon Dorieus went back 
to Libya, took up the men who had sailed with 
him at the first, and proceeded upon his way 
along the shores of Italy. 

44. Just at this time, the Sybarites say, they 
and their king Telys were about to make war 
upon Crotona, and the Crotoniats, greatly 
alarmed, besought Dorieus to lend them aid. 
Dorieus was prevailed upon, bore part in the 
war against Sybaris, and had a share in taking 
the town. Such is the account which the Syba- 
rites give of what was done by Dorieus and 
his companions. The Crotoniats, on the other 
hand, maintain that no foreigner lent them aid 
in their war against the Sybarites, save and ex- 
cept Callias the Elean, a soothsayer of the race 
of the lamidae; and he only forsook Telys the 
Sybaritic king, and deserted to their side, when 
he found on sacrificing that the victims were 
not favourable to an attack on Crotona. Such 
is the account which each party gives of these 

45. Both parties likewise adduce testimonies 
to the truth of what they say. The Sybarites 

show a temple and sacred precinct near the dry 
stream of the Crastis, which they declare that 
Dorieus, after taking their city, dedicated to 
Minerva Crastias. And further, they bring for- 
ward the death of Dorieus as the surest proof; 
since he fell, they say, because he disobeyed the 
oracle. For had he in nothing varied from the 
directions given him, but confined himself to 
the business on which he was sent, he would 
assuredly have conquered the Erycian terri- 
tory, and kept possession of it, instead of per- 
ishing with all his followers. The Crotoniats, 
on the other hand, point to the numerous allot- 
ments within their borders which were as- 
signed to Callias the Elean by their country- 
men, and which to my day remained in the 
possession of his family; while Dorieus and his 
descendants (they remark) possess nothing. 
Yet if Dorieus had really helped them in the 
Sybaritic war, he would have received very 
much more than Callias. Such are the testi- 
monies which are adduced on either side; it 
is open to every man to adopt whichever view 
he deems the best. 

46. Certain Spartans accompanied Dorieus 
on his voyage as co-founders, to wit, Thes- 
salus, Paraebates, Celeas, and Euryleon. These 
men and all the troops under their command 
reached Sicily; but there they fell in a battle 
wherein they were defeated by the Egestaeans 
and Phoenicians, only one, Euryleon, surviv- 
ing the disaster. He then, collecting the rem- 
nants of the beaten army, made himself master 
of Minoa, the Selinusian colony, and helped 
the Selinusians to throw off the yoke of their 
tyrant Peithagoras. Having upset Peithagoras, 
he sought to become tyrant in his room, and he 
even reigned at Selinus for a brief space but 
after a while the Selinusians rose up in revolt 
against him, and though he fled to the altar of 
Jupiter Agorxus, they notwithstanding put 
him to death. 

47. Another man who accompanied Dorieus, 
and died with him, was Philip the son of Buta- 
cidas, a man of Crotona; who, after he had 
been betrothed to a daughter of Telys the Syb- 
arite, was banished from Crotona, whereupon 
his marriage came to nought; and he in his dis- 
appointment took ship and sailed to Cyrene. 
From thence he became a follower of Dorieus, 
furnishing to the fleet a trireme of his own, the 
crew of which he supported at his own charge. 
This Philip was an Olympian victor, and the 
handsomest Greek of his day. His beauty 
gained him honours at the hands of the Egest- 
;eans which they never accorded to any one 



else; for they raised a hero-temple over his 
grave, and they still worship him with sacri- 

48. Such then was the end of Dorieus, who 
if he had brooked the rule of Cleomenes, and 
remained in Sparta, would have been king of 
Lacedaemon; since Cleomenes, after reigning 
no great length of time, died without male off- 
spring, leaving behind him an only daughter, 
by name Gorgo. 

49. Cleomenes, however, was still -king 
when Aristagoras, tyrant of Miletus, reached 
Sparta. At their interview, Aristagoras, accord- 
ing to the report of the Lacedaemonians, pro- 
duced a bronze tablet, whereupon the whole 
circuit of the earth was engraved, with all its 
seas and rivers. Discourse began between the 
two; and Aristagoras addressed the Spartan 
king in these words following: "Think it not 
strange, O King Cleomenes, that I have been 
at the pains to sail hither; for the posture of 
affairs, which I will now recount unto thee, 
made it fitting. Shame and grief is it indeed 
to none so much as to us, that the sons of the 
lonians should have lost their freedom, and 
come to be the slaves of others; but yet it 
touches you likewise, O Spartans, beyond the 
rest of the Greeks, inasmuch as the pre-emi- 
nence over all Greece appertains to you. We 
beseech you, therefore, by the common gods 
of the Grecians, deliver the lonians, who are 
your own kinsmen, from slavery. Truly the 
task is not difficult; for the barbarians are an 
unwarlikc people; and you are the best and 
bravest warriors in the whole world. Their 
mode of fighting is the following: they use 
bows and arrows and a short spear; they wear 
trousers in the field, and cover their heads with 
turbans. So easy are they to vanquish! Know 
too that the dwellers in these parts have more 
good things than all the rest of the world put 
together gold, and silver, and brass, and em- 
broidered garments, beasts of burthen, and 
bond-servants all which, if you only wish it, 
you may soon have for your own. The nations 
border on one another, in the order which I 
will now explain. Next to these lonians" (here 
he pointed with his finger to the map of the 
world which was engraved upon the tablet 
that he had brought with him) "these Lydians 
dwell; their soil is fertile, and few people are 
so rich in silver. Next to them," he continued, 
"come these Phrygians, who have more flocks 
and herds than any race that I know, and 
more plentiful harvests. On them border the 
Cappadocians, whom we Greeks know by the 

name of Syrians: they are neighbours to the 
Cilicians, who extend all the way to this sea, 
where Cyprus (the island which you see here) 
lies. The Cilicians pay the king a yearly tribute 
of five hundred talents. Next to them come the 
Armenians, who live here they too have nu- 
merous flocks and herds. After them come the 
Matieni, inhabiting this country; then Cissia, 
this province, where you see the river Cho- 
aspes marked, and likewise the town Susa 
upon its banks, where the Great King holds 
his court, and where the treasuries are in 
which his wealth is stored. Once masters of 
this city, you may be bold to vie with Jove him- 
self for riches. In the wars which ye wage with 
your rivals of Messenia, with them of Argos 
likewise and of Arcadia, about paltry bounda- 
ries and strips of land not so remarkably good, 
ye contend with those who have no gold, nor 
silver even, which often give men heart to 
fight and die. Must ye wage such wars, and 
when ye might so easily be lords of Asia, will 
ye decide otherwise?" Thus spoke Aristagoras; 
and Cleomenes replied to him, "Milesian 
stranger, three days hence I will give thee an 

50. So they proceeded no further at that 
time. When, however, the day appointed for 
the answer came, and the two once more met, 
Cleomenes asked Aristagoras, "how many 
days' journey it was from the sea of the lonians 
to the king's residence?" Hereupon Arista- 
goras, who had managed the rest so cleverly, 
and succeeded in deceiving the king, tripped 
in his speech and blundered; for instead of 
concealing the truth, as he ought to have done 
if he wanted to induce the Spartans to cross 
into Asia, he said plainly that it was a journey 
of three months. Cleomenes caught at the 
words, and, preventing Aristagoras from fin- 
ishing what he had begun to say concerning 
the road, addressed him thus: "Milesian 
stranger, quit Sparta before sunset. This is no 
good proposal that thou makest to the Lacedae- 
monians, to conduct them a distance of three 
months' journey from the sea." When he had 
thus spoken, Cleomenes went to his home. 

51. But Aristagoras took an olive-bough in 
his hand, and hastened to the king's house, 
where he was admitted by reason of his sup- 
pliant's guise. Gorgo, the daughter of Cleo- 
menes, and his only child, a girl of about eight 
or nine years of age, happened to be there, 
standing by her father's side. Aristagoras, sec- 
ing her, requested Cleomenes to send her out 
of the room before he began to speak with 



him; but Cleomenes told him to say on, and 
not mind the child. So Aristagoras began with 
a promise of ten talents if the king would 
grant him his request, and when Cleomenes 
shook his head, contined to raise his offer till 
it reached fifty talents; whereupon the child 
spoke: "Father," she said, "get up and go, or 
the stranger will certainly corrupt thee." Then 
Cleomenes, pleased at the warning of his child, 
withdrew and went into another room. Arista- 
goras quitted Sparta for good, not being able 
to discourse any more concerning the road 
which led up to the king. 

52. Now the true account of the road in 
question is the following: Royal stations ex- 
ist along its whole length, and excellent cara- 
vanserais; and throughout, it traverses an in- 
habited tract, and is free from danger. In Lyd- 
ia and Phrygia there are twenty stations within 
a distance of 94 1 / 2 parasangs. On leaving Phry- 
gia the Halys has to be crossed; and here are 
gates through which you must needs pass ere 
you can traverse the stream. A strong force 
guards this post. When you have made the 
passage, and are come into Cappadocia, 28 
stations and 104 parasangs bring you to the 
borders of Cilicia, where the road passes 
through two sets of gates, at each of which 
there is a guard posted. Leaving these behind, 
you go on through Cilicia, where you find 
three stations in a distance of 15% parasangs. 
The boundary between Cilicia and Armenia is 
the river Euphrates, which it is necessary to 
cross in boats. In Armenia the resting-places 
are 15 in number, and the distance is 56^2 
parasangs. There is one place where a guard is 
posted. Four large streams intersect this dis- 
trict, all of which have to be crossed by means 
of boats. The first of these is the Tigris; the 
second and the third have both of them the 
same name, though they are not only different 
rivers, but do not even run from the same place. 
For the one which I have called the first of 
the two has its source in Armenia, while the 
other flows afterwards out of the country of 
the Matienians. The fourth of the streams is 
called the Gyndes, and this is the river which 
Cyrus dispersed by digging for it three hun- 
dred and sixty channels. Leaving Armenia and 
entering the Matienian country, you have four 
stations; these passed you find yourself in Cis- 
sia, where eleven stations and 42^2 parasangs 
bring you to another navigable stream, the 
Choaspes, on the banks of which the city of 
Susa is built. Thus the entire number of the 
stations is raised to one hundred and eleven; 

[BooR v 

and so many are in fact the resting-places that 
one finds between Sardis and Susa. 

53. If then the royal road be measured 
aright, and the parasang equals, as it does, thir- 
ty furlongs, the whole distance from Sardis to 
the palace of Memnon (as it is called), 
amounting thus to 450 parasangs, would be 
13,500 furlongs. Travelling then at the rate of 
150 furlongs a day, one will take exactly ninety 
days to perform the journey. 

54. Thus when Aristagoras the Milesian 
told Cleomenes the Lacedaemonian that it was 
a three months' journey from the sea up to the 
king, he said no more than the truth. The ex- 
act distance (if any one desires still greater ac- 
curacy) is somewhat more; for the journey 
from Ephesus to Sardis must be added to the 
foregoing account; and this will make the 
whole distance between the Greek Sea and 
Susa (or the city of Memnon, as it is called) 
14,040 furlongs; since Ephesus is distant from 
Sardis 540 furlongs. This would add three 
days to the three months' journey. 

55. When Aristagoras left Sparta he has- 
tened to Athens, which had got quit of its ty- 
rants in the way that I will now describe. After 
the death of Hipparchus (the son of Pisistratus, 
and brother of the tyrant Hippias), who, in 
spite of the clear warning he had received con- 
cerning his fate in a dream, was slain by Har- 
modius and Aristogeiton (men both of the 
race of the Gephyraeans), the oppression of the 
Athenians continued by the space of four 
years; and they gained nothing, but were 
worse used than before. 

56. Now the dream of Hipparchus was the 
following: The night before the Panathenaic 
festival, he thought he saw in his sleep a tall 
and beautiful man, who stood over him, and 
read him the following riddle: 

Bear thou unbearable woes with the all-bearing 

heart of a lion; 
'Never, be sure, shall wrong-doer escape the reward 

of wrong-doing. 

As soon as day dawned he sent and submitted 
his dream to the interpreters, after which he 
offered the averting sacrifices, and then went 
and led the procession in which he perished. 

57. The family of the Gephyraeans, to which 
the murderers of Hipparchus belonged, ac- 
cording to their own account, came originally 
from Eretria. My inquiries, however, have 
made it clear to me that they are in reality 
Phoenicians, descendants of those who came 
with Cadmus into the country now called Bce- 
otia. Here they received for their portion the 




district of Tanagra, in which they afterwards 
dwelt. On their expulsion from this country by 
the Boeotians (which happened some time af- 
ter that of the Cadmeians from the same parts 
by the Argives) they took refuge at Athens. 
The Athenians received them among their cit- 
izens upon set terms, whereby they were ex- 
cluded from a number of privileges which are 
not worth mentioning. 

58. Now the Phoenicians who came with 
Cadmus, and to whom the Gephyraei be- 
longed, introduced into Greece upon their ar- 
rival a great variety of arts, among the rest that 
of writing, whereof the Greeks till then had, 
as I think, been ignorant. And originally they 
shaped their letters exactly like all the other 
Phoenicians, but afterwards, in course of time, 
they changed by degrees their language, and 
together with it the form likewise of their 
characters. Now the Greeks who dwelt about 
those parts at that time were chiefly the loni- 
ans. The Phoenician letters were accordingly 
adopted by them, but with some variation in 
the shape of a few, and so they arrived at the 
present use, still calling the letters Phoenician, 
as justice required, after the name of those 
who were the first to introduce them into 
Greece. Paper rolls also were called from of 
old "parchments" by the lonians, because for- 
merly when paper was scarce they used, in- 
stead, the skins of sheep and goats on which 
material many of the barbarians are even now 
wont to write. 

59. I myself saw Cadmeian characters en- 
graved upon some tripods in the temple of 
Apollo Ismenias in Boeotian Thebes, most of 
them shaped like the Ionian. One of the tri- 
pods has the inscription following: 

Me did Amphitryon place, jrom the jar Teleboans 

This would be about the age of Lams, the son 
of Labdacus, the son of Polydorus, the son of 

60. Another of the tripods has this legend 
in the hexameter measure: 

/ to jar-shooting Phoebus was offered by Scaus 

the boxer, 
When he had won at the games a wondrous 

beautiful offering. 

This might be Scaeus, the son of Hippocoon; 
and the tripod, if dedicated by him, and not by 
another of the same name, would belong to 
the time of GEdipus, the son of Lams. 

61. The third tripod has also an inscription 
in hex3,m#ers, which runs thus: 

King Laodamas gave this tripod to jar-seeing 


When he was set on the throne a wondrous 

beautiful offering. 

It was in the reign of this Laodamas, the son 
of Eteocles, that the Cadmeians were driven 
by the Argives out of their country, and found 
a shelter with the Encheleans. The Gephyrae- 
ans at that time remained in the country, but 
afterwards they retired before the Boeotians, 
and took refuge at Athens, where they have a 
number of temples for their separate use, 
which the other Athenians are not allowed to 
enter among the rest, one of Achaean Ceres, 
in whose honour they likewise celebrate special 

62. Having thus related the dream which 
Hipparchus saw, and traced the descent of the 
Gephyraeans, the family whereto his murder- 
ers belonged, I must proceed with the matter 
whereof I was intending before to speak; to 
wit, the way in which the Athenians got quit 
of their tyrants. Upon the death of Hippar- 
chus, Hippias, who was king, grew harsh to- 
wards the Athenians; and the Alcmaeonidae, an 
Athenian family which had been banished by 
the Pisistratidae, joined the other exiles, and 
endeavoured to procure their own return, and 
to free Athens, by force. They seized and forti- 
fied Leipsydrium above Paeonia, and tried to 
gain their object by arms; but great disasters 
befell them, and their purpose remained unac- 
complished. They therefore resolved to shrink 
from no contrivance that might bring them 
success; and accordingly they contracted with 
the Amphictyons to build the temple which 
now stands at Delphi, but which in those days 
did not exist. Having done this, they proceed- 
ed, being men of great wealth and members of 
an ancient and distinguished family, to build 
the temple much more magnificently than the 
plan obliged them. Besides other improvements, 
instead of the coarse stone whereof by the con- 
tract the temple was to have been constructed, 
they made the facings of Parian marble. 

63. These same men, if we may believe the 
Athenians, during their stay at Delphi per- 
suaded the Pythoness by a bribe to tell the 
Spartans, whenever any of them came to con- 
sult the oracle, either on their own private 
affairs or on the business of the state, that they 
must free Athens. So the Lacedaemonians, 
when they found no answer ever returned to 
them but this, sent at last Anchimolius, the son 
of Aster a man of note among their citizens 
at the head of an army against Athens, with 



orders to drive out the Pisistratidae, albeit they 
were bound to them by the closest ties of friend- 
ship. For they esteemed the things of heaven 
more highly than the things of men. The troops 
went by sea and were conveyed in transports. 
Anchimolius brought them to an anchorage at 
Phalerum; and there the men disembarked. 
But the Pisistratida?, who had previous knowl- 
edge of their intentions, had sent to Thessaly, 
between which country and Athens there was 
an alliance, with a request for aid. The Thes- 
salians, in reply to their entreaties, sent them 
by a public vote 1000 horsemen, under the 
command of their king, Cineas, who was a 
Coniaean. When this help came, the Pisistra- 
tidae laid their plan accordingly: they cleared 
the whole plain about Phalerum so as to make 
it fit for the movements of cavalry, and then 
charged the enemy's camp with their horse, 
which fell with such fury upon the Lacedae- 
monians as to kill numbers, among the rest 
Anchimolius, the general, and to drive the re- 
mainder to their ships. Such was the fate of 
the first army sent from Lacedaemon, and the 
tomb of Anchimolius may be seen to this day 
in Attica; it is at Alopecae (Foxtown), near 
the temple of Hercules in Cynosargos. 

64. Afterwards, the Lacedemonians des- 
patched a larger force against Athens, which 
they put under the command of Cleomenes, 
son of Anaxandridas, one of their kings. These 
troops were not sent by sea, but marched by 
the mainland. When they were come into At- 
tica, their first encounter was with the Thes- 
salian horse, which they shortly put to flight, 
killing above forty men; the remainder made 
good their escape, and fled straight to Thessaly. 
Cleomenes proceeded to the city, and, with 
the aid of such of the Athenians as wished for 
freedom, besieged the tyrants, who had shut 
themselves up in the Pelasgic fortress. 

65. And now there had been small chance 
of the Pisistratidae falling into the hands of the 
Spartans, who did not even design to sit down 
before the place, which had moreover been 
well provisioned beforehand with stores both 
of meat and drink, nay, it is likely that after 
a few days' blockade the Lacedaemonians 
would have quitted Attica altogether, and gone 
back to Sparta had not an event occurred 
most unlucky for the besieged, and most ad- 
vantageous for the besiegers. The children of 
the Pisistratidae were made prisoners, as they 
were being removed out of the country. By this 
calamity all their plans were deranged, and 
as the ransom of their children they con- 

[BooK v 

sented to the demands of the Athenians, and 
agreed within five days' time to quit Attica. 
Accordingly they soon afterwards left the 
country, and withdrew to Sigeum on the Sca- 
mander, after reigning thirty-six years over 
the Athenians. By descent they were Pylians, 
of the family of the Neleids, to which Codrus 
and Melanthus likewise belonged, men who in 
former times from foreign settlers became 
kings of Athens. And hence it was that Hip- 
pocrates came to think of calling his son Pisis- 
tratus: he named him after the Pisistratus who 
was a son of Nestor. Such then was the mode 
in which the Athenians got quit of their ty- 
rants. What they did and suffered worthy of 
note from the time when they gained their 
freedom until the revolt of Ionia from King 
Darius, and the coming of Aristagoras to Ath- 
ens with a request that the Athenians would 
lend the lonians aid, I shall now proceed to re- 

66. The power of Athens had been great be- 
fore; but, now that the tyrants were gone, it 
became greater than ever. The chief authority 
was lodged with two persons, Clisthenes, of 
the family of the Alcmaeonids, who is said to 
have been the persuader of the Pythoness, and 
Isagoras, the son of Tisander, who belonged 
to a noble house, but whose pedigree I am not 
able to trace further. Howbeit his kinsmen 
offer sacrifice to the Carian Jupiter. These 
two men strove together for the mastery; and 
Clisthenes, finding himself the weaker, called 
to his aid the common people. Hereupon, in- 
stead of the four tribes among which the 
Athenians had been divided hitherto, Clis- 
thenes made ten tribes, and parcelled out the 
Athenians among them. He likewise changed 
the names of the tribes; for whereas they had 
till now been called after Geleon, ^Egicores, 
Argades, and Hoples, the four sons of Ion, 
Clisthenes set these names aside, and called 
his tribes after certain other heroes, all of 
whom were native, except Ajax. Ajax was as- 
sociated because, although a foreigner, he was 
a neighbour and an ally of Athens. 

67. My belief is that in acting thus he did 
but imitate his maternal grandfather, Clis- 
thenes, king of Sicyon. This king, when he 
was at war with Argos, put an end to the con- 
tests of the rhapsodists at Sicyon, because in 
the Homeric poems Argos and the Argives 
were so constantly the theme of song. He like- 
wise conceived the wish to drive Adrastus, the 
son of Talaiis, out of his country, seeing that 
he was an Argive hero. For Adrastus had a 



shrine at Sicyon, which yet stands in the mar- 
ket-place of the town. Clisthenes therefore 
went to Delphi, and asked the oracle if he 
might expel Adrastus. To this the Pythoness is 
reported to have answered "Adrastus is the 
Sicyonians' king, but thou art only a robber." 
So when the god would not grant his request, 
he went home and began to think how he 
might contrive to make Adrastus withdraw of 
his own accord. After a while he hit upon a 
plan which he thought would succeed. He sent 
envoys to Thebes in Boeotia, and informed 
the Thebans that he wished to bring Melanip- 
pus, the son of Astacus, to Sicyon. The The- 
bans consenting, Clisthenes carried Melanip- 
pus back with him, assigned him a precinct 
within the government-house, and built him a 
shrine there in the safest and strongest part. 
The reason for his so doing (which I must not 
forbear to mention) was because Melanippus 
was Adrastus' great enemy, having slain both 
his brother Mecistes and his son-in-law Tydeus. 
Clisthenes, after assigning the precinct to Mel- 
anippus, took away from Adrastus the sacri- 
fices and festivals wherewith he had till then 
been honoured, and transferred them to his 
adversary. Hitherto the Sicyonians had paid 
extraordinary honours to Adrastus, because the 
country had belonged to Polybus, and Adras- 
tus was Polybus' daughter's son; whence it 
came to pass that Polybus, dying childless, left 
Adrastus his kingdom. Besides other ceremo- 
nies, it had been their wont to honour Adras- 
tus with tragic choruses, which they assigned 
to him rather than Bacchus, on account of his 
calamities. Clisthenes now gave the choruses 
to Bacchus, transferring to Melanippus the 
rest of the sacred rites. 

68. Such were his doings in the matter of 
Adrastus. With respect to the Dorian tribes, 
not choosing the Sicyonians to have the same 
tribes as the Argives, he changed all the old 
names for new ones; and here he took special 
occasion to mock the Sicyonians, for he drew 
his new names from the words "pig" and 
"ass," adding thereto the usual tribe-endings; 
only in the case of his own tribe he did nothing 
of the sort, but gave them a name drawn from 
his own kingly office. For he called his own 
tribe the Archelai, or Rulers, while the others 
he named Hyatae, or Pig-folk, Oneatae, or Ass- 
folk, and Chcereatae, or Swine-folk. The Sicy- 
onians kept these names, not only during the 
reign of Clisthenes, but even after his death, 
by the space of sixty years: then, however, they 
took counsel together, and changed to the well- 


known names of Hyllaeans, Pamphylians, and 
Dymanatae, taking at the same time, as a 
fourth name, the title of ^Egialeans, from /gi- 
aleus the son of Adrastus. 

69. Thus had Clisthenes the Sicyonian done. 
The Athenian Clisthenes, who was grandson 
by the mother's side of the other, and had been 
named after him, resolved, from contempt (as 
I believe) of the lonians, that his tribes should 
not be the same as theirs; and so followed the 
pattern set him by his namesake of Sicyon. 
Having brought entirely over to his own side 
the common people of Athens, whom he had 
before disdained, he gave all the tribes new 
names, and made the number greater than for- 
merly; instead of the four phylarchs he estab- 
lished ten; he likewise placed ten demes in 
each of the tribes; and he was, now that the 
common people took his part, very much more 
powerful than his adversaries. 

70. Isagoras in his turn lost ground; and 
therefore, to counter-plot his enemy, he called 
in Cleomenes the Lacedaemonian, who had al- 
ready, at the time when he was besieging the 
Pisistratidae, made a contract of friendship with 
him. A charge is even brought against Cleo- 
menes that he was on terms of too great fa- 
miliarity with Isagoras's wife. At this time the 
first thing that he did was to send a herald 
and require that Clisthenes, and a large num- 
ber of Athenians besides, whom he called "The 
Accursed," should leave Athens. This message 
he sent at the suggestion of Isagoras: for in 
the affair referred to, the blood-guiltiness lay 
on the Alcmaeonidae and their partisans, while 
he and his friends were quite clear of it. 

71. The way in which "The Accursed" at 
Athens got their name, was the following. 
There was a certain Athenian called Cylon, a 
victor at the Olympic Games, who aspired to 
the sovereignty, and aided by a number of his 
companions, who were of the same age with 
himself, made an attempt to seize the citadel. 
But the attack failed; and Cylon became a sup- 
pliant at the image. Hereupon the Heads of 
the Naucraries, who at that time bore rule in 
Athens, induced the fugitives to remove by a 
promise to spare their lives. Nevertheless they 
were all slain; and the blame was laid on the 
Alcmaeonidae. All this happened before the 
time of Pisistratus. 

72. When the message of Cleomenes ar- 
rived, requiring Clisthenes and "The Ac- 
cursed" to quit the city, Clisthenes departed of 
his own accord. Cleomenes, however, notwith- 
standing his departure, came to Athens, with 



a small band of followers; and on his arrival 
sent into banishment seven hundred Athenian 
families, which were pointed out to him by 
Isagoras. Succeeding here, he next endeav- 
oured to dissolve the council, and to put the 
government into the hands of three hundred 
of the partisans of that leader. But the council 
resisted, and refused to obey his orders; where- 
upon Cleomenes, Isagoras, and their followers 
took possession of the citadel. Here they were 
attacked by the rest of the Athenians, who 
took the side of the council, and were besieged 
for the space of two days: on the third day they 
accepted terms, being allowed at least such 
of them as were Lacedaemonians to quit the 
country. And so the word which came to Cleo- 
menes received its fulfilment. For when he 
first went up into the citadel, meaning to seize 
it, just as he was entering the sanctuary of the 
goddess, in order to question her, the priestess 
arose from her throne, before he had passed 
the doors, and said "Stranger from Lacedae- 
mon, depart hence, and presume not to enter 
the holy place it is not lawful for a Dorian to 
set foot there." But he answered, "Oh! woman, 
I am not a Dorian, but an Achaean." Slighting 
this warning, Cleomenes made his attempt, 
and so he was forced to retire, together with 
his Lacedaemonians. The rest were cast into 
prison by the Athenians, and condemned to 
die among them Timasitheiis the Delphian, 
of whose prowess and courage I have great 
things which I could tell. 

73. So these men died in prison. The Athen- 
ians directly afterwards recalled Clisthenes, 
and the seven hundred families which Cleo- 
menes had driven out; and, further, they sent 
envoys to Sardis, to make an alliance with the 
Persians, for they knew that war would fol- 
low with Cleomenes and the Lacedaemonians. 
When the ambassadors reached Sardis and de- 
livered their message, Artaphernes, son of Hys- 
taspes, who was at that time governor of the 
place, inquired of them "who they were, and 
in what part of the world they dwelt, that they 
wanted to become allies of the Persians?" The 
messengers told him; upon which he answered 
them shortly that "if the Athenians chose to 
give earth and water to King Darius, he 
would conclude an alliance with them; but if 
not, they might go home again." After con- 
sulting together, the envoys, anxious to form 
the alliance, accepted the terms; but on their 
return to Athens, they fell into deep disgrace 
on account of their compliance. 

74. Meanwhile Cleomenes, who considered 

[ BOOK v 

himself to have been insulted by the Athenians 
both in word and deed, was drawing a force 
together from all parts of the Peloponnese, 
without informing any one of his object; 
which was to revenge himself on the Athen- 
ians, and to establish Isagoras, who had es- 
caped with him from the citadel, as despot of 
Athens. Accordingly, with a large army, he in- 
vaded the district of Eleusis, while the Boeoti- 
ans, who had concerted measures with him, 
took (Enoe and Hysiae, two country towns 
upon the frontier; and at the same time the 
Chalcideans, on another side, plundered divers 
places in Attica. The Athenians, notwithstand- 
ing that danger threatened them from every 
quarter, put off all thought of the Boeotians 
and Chalcideans till a future time, and 
marched against the Peloponnesians, who 
were at Eleusis. 

75. As the two hosts were about to engage, 
first of all the Corinthians, bethinking them- 
selves that they were perpetrating a wrong, 
changed their minds, and drew off from the 
main army. Then Demaratus, son of Ariston, 
who was himself king of Sparta and joint- 
leader of the expedition, and who till now had 
had no sort of quarrel with Cleomenes, fol- 
lowed their example. On account of this rup- 
ture between the kings, a law was passed at 
Sparta, forbidding both monarchs to go out 
together with the army, as had been the cus- 
tom hitherto. The law also provided, that, as 
one of the kings was to be left behind, one of 
the Tyndaridae should also remain at home; 
whereas hitherto both had accompanied the 
expeditions, as auxiliaries. So when the rest of 
the allies saw that the Lacedaemonian kings 
were not of one mind, and that the Corinthian 
troops had quitted their post, they likewise 
drew off and departed. 

76. This was the fourth time that the Dori- 
ans had invaded Attica: twice they came as 
enemies, and twice they came to do good serv- 
ice to the Athenian people. Their first invasion 
took place at the period when they founded 
Megara, and is rightly placed in the reign of 
Codrus at Athens; the second and third occa- 
sions were when they came from Sparta to 
drive out the Pisistratidae; the fourth was the 
present attack, when Cleomenes, at the head 
of a Peloponnesian army, entered at Eleusis. 
Thus the Dorians had now four times invaded 

77. So when the Spartan army had broken 
up from its quarters thus ingloriously, the 
Athenians, wishing to revenge themselves, 


marched first against the Chalcideans. The 
Boeotians, however, advancing to the aid of the 
latter as far as the Euripus, the Athenians 
thought it best to attack them first. A battle 
was fought accordingly; and the Athenians 
gained a very complete victory, killing a vast 
number of the enemy, and taking seven hun- 
dred of them alive. After this, on the very same 
day, they crossed into Eubcea, and engaged 
the Chalcideans with the like success; where- 
upon they left four thousand settlers 1 upon the 
lands of the Hippobotae, 2 which is the name 
the Chalcideans give to their rich men. All the 
Chalcidean prisoners whom they took were 
put in irons, and kept for a long time in close 
confinement, as likewise were the Boeotians, 
until the ransom asked for them was paid; and 
this the Athenians fixed at two minae the man. 
The chains wherewith they were fettered the 
Athenians suspended in their citadel; where 
they were still to be seen in my day, hanging 
against the wall scorched by the Median 
flames, opposite the chapel which faces the 
west. The Athenians made an offering of the 
tenth part of the ransom-money: and expend- 
ed it on the brazen chariot drawn by four 
steeds, which stands on the left hand immedi- 
ately that one enters the gateway of the citadel. 
The inscription runs as follows: 

When Chalet's and Bceotia dared her might, 
Athens subdued their pride in valorous fight; 
Gave bonds for insults; and, the ransom paid, 
Prom the full tenths these steeds for Pallas made. 

78. Thus did the Athenians increase in 
strength. And it is plain enough, not from this 
instance only, but from many everywhere, that 
freedom is an excellent thing; since even the 
Athenians, who, while they continued under 
the rule of tyrants, were not a whit more vali- 
ant than any of their neighbours, no sooner 
shook off the yoke than they became decidedly 
the first of all. These things show that, while 
undergoing oppression, they let themselves be 
beaten, since then they worked for a master; 
but so soon as they got their freedom, each 
man was eager to do the best he could for him- 
self. So fared it now with the Athenians. 

79. Meanwhile the Thebans, who longed to 
be revenged on the Athenians, had sent to the 
oracle, and been told by the Pythoness that of 
their own strength they would be unable to 

literally, "allotment-holders" 

2 The Chalcidean Hippobote, or "horse-keep- 
ers," were a wealthy aristocracy and correspond to 
the knights (imreis) of most Grecian states, and 
the "equites," or "celeres," of the Romans. 


accomplish their wish: "they must lay the mat- 
ter," she said, "before the many-voiced, and 
ask the aid of those nearest them." The mes- 
sengers, therefore, on their return, called a 
meeting, and laid the answer of the oracle be- 
fore the people, who no sooner heard the ad- 
vice to "ask the aid of those nearest them" 
than they exclaimed "What! are not they 
who dwell the nearest to us the men of Tana- 
gra, of Coronaea, and Thespiae? Yet these men 
always fight on our side, and have aided us 
with a good heart all through the war. Of 
what use is it to ask them? But maybe this is 
not the true meaning of the oracle." 

80. As they were thus discoursing one with 
another, a certain man, informed of the debate, 
cried out "Methinks that I understand what 
course the oracle would recommend to us. 
Asopus, they say, had two daughters, Thebe 
and Egina. The god means that, as these two 
were sisters, we ought to ask the Eginetans to 
lend us aid." As no one was able to hit on any 
better explanation, the Thebans forthwith sent 
messengers to Egina, and, according to the ad- 
vice of the oracle, asked their aid, as the people 
"nearest to them." In answer to this petition 
the Eginetans said that they would give them 
the ^Eacidae for helpers. 

81. The Thebans now, relying on the as- 
sistance of the ^acidtc, ventured to renew the 
war; but they met with so rough a reception, 
that they resolved to send to the Eginetans 
again, returning the ^acidae, and beseeching 
them to send some men instead. The Egine- 
tans, who were at that time a most flourishing 
people, elated with their greatness, and at the 
same time calling to mind their ancient feud 
with Athens, agreed to lend the Thebans aid, 
and forthwith went to war with the Athenians, 
without even giving them notice by a herald. 
The attention of these latter being engaged by 
the struggle with the Boeotians, the Eginetans 
in their ships of war made descents upon At- 
tica, plundered Phalerum, and ravaged a vast 
number of the townships upon the sea-board, 
whereby the Athenians suffered very grievous 

82. The ancient feud between the Eginetans 
and Athenians arose out of the following cir- 
cumstances. Once upon a time the land of Epi- 
daurus would bear no crops; and the Epidauri- 
ans sent to consult the oracle of Delphi con- 
cerning their affliction. The answer bade them 
set up the images of Damia and Auxesia, and 
promised them better fortune when that 
should be done. "Shall the images be made of 



[BOOK v 

bronze or stone?" the Epidaurians asked; but 
the Pythoness replied, "Of neither: but let 
them be made of the garden olive." Then the 
Epidaurians sent to Athens and asked leave to 
cut olive wood in Attica, believing the Atheni- 
an olives to be the holiest; or, according to 
others, because there were no olives at that 
time anywhere else in all the world but at 
Athens. 1 The Athenians answered that they 
would give them leave, but on condition of 
their bringing offerings year by year to Min- 
erva Polias and to Erechtheus. The Epidauri- 
ans agreed, and having obtained what they 
wanted, made the images of olive wood, and 
set them up in their own country. Henceforth 
their land bore its crops; and they duly paid 
the Athenians what had been agreed upon. 

83. Anciently, and even down to the time 
when this took place, the Eginetans were in 
all things subject to the Epidaurians, and had 
to cross over to Epidaurus for the trial of all 
suits in which they were engaged one with an- 
other. After this, however, the Eginetans built 
themselves ships, and, growing proud, re- 
volted from the Epidaurians. Having thus 
come to be at enmity with them, the Egine- 
tans, who were masters of the sea, ravaged 
Epidaurus, and even carried off these very im- 
ages of Damia and Auxesia, which they set up 
in their own country, in the interior, at a place 
called CEa, about twenty furlongs from their 
city. This done, they fixed a worship for the 
images, which consisted in part of sacrifices, in 
part of female satiric choruses; while at the 
same time they appointed certain men to fur- 
nish the choruses, ten for each goddess. These 
choruses did not abuse men, but only the wom- 
en of the country. Holy orgies of a similar 
kind were in use also among the Epidaurians, 
and likewise another sort of holy orgies, 
whereof it is not lawful to speak. 

84. After the robbery of the images the Epi- 
daurians ceased to make the stipulated pay- 
ments to the Athenians, wherefore the Athen- 
ians sent to Epidaurus to remonstrate. But the 
Epidaurians proved to them that they were not 
guilty of any wrong: "While the images con- 
tinued in their country," they said, "they had 
duly paid the offerings according to the agree- 
ment; now that the images had been taken 
from them, they were no longer under any ob- 
ligation to pay: the Athenians should make 
their demand of the Eginetans, in whose pos- 

1 This is, of course, not true, for the olive had 
been cultivated in the east from a very remote an- 

session the figures now were." Upon this the 
Athenians sent to Egina, and demanded the 
images back; but the Eginetans answered that 
the Athenians had nothing whatever to do 
with them. 

85. After this the Athenians relate that they 
sent a trireme to Egina with certain citizens on 
board, and that these men, who bore commis- 
sion from the state, landed in Egina, and 
sought to take the images away, considering 
them to be their own, inasmuch as they were 
made of their wood. And first they endeavoured 
to wrench them from their pedestals, and so car- 
ry them off; but failing herein, they in the next 
place tied ropes to them, and set to work to try 
if they could haul them down. In the midst of 
their hauling suddenly there was a thunder- 
clap, and with the thunderclap an earthquake; 
and the crew of the trireme were forthwith 
seized with madness, and, like enemies, began 
to kill one another; until at last there was but 
one left, who returned alone to Phalerum. 

86. Such is the account given by the Athen- 
ians. The Eginetans deny that there was only 
a single vessel: "Had there been only one," 
they say, "or no more than a few, they would 
easily have repulsed the attack, even if they 
had had no fleet at all; but the Athenians came 
against them with a large number of ships, 
wherefore they gave way, and did not hazard 
a battle." They do not however explain clearly 
whether it was from a conviction of their own 
inferiority at sea that they yielded, or whether 
it was for the purpose of doing that which in 
fact they did. Their account is that the Athen- 
ians, disembarking from their ships, when 
they found that no resistance was offered, 
made for the statues, and failing to wrench 
them from their pedestals, tied ropes to them 
and began to haul. Then, they say and some 
people will perhaps believe them, though I 
for my part do not the two statues, as they 
were being dragged and hauled, fell down 
both upon their knees; in which attitude they 
still remain. Such, according to them, was the 
conduct of the Athenians; they meanwhile, 
having learnt beforehand what was intended, 
had prevailed on the Argives to hold them- 
selves in readiness; and the Athenians accord- 
ingly were but just landed on their coasts when 
the Argives came to their aid. Secretly and si- 
lently they crossed over from Epidaurus, and, 
before the Athenians were aware, cut off their 
retreat to their ships, and fell upon them; and 
the thunder came exactly at that moment, and 
the earthquake with it. 


87. The Argivcs and the Eginctans both 
agree in giving this account; and the Atheni- 
ans themselves acknowledge that but one of 
their men returned alive to Attica. According 
to the Argives, he escaped from the battle in 
which the rest of the Athenian troops were 
destroyed by them. According to the Atheni- 
ans, it was the god who destroyed their troops; 
and even this one man did not escape, for he 
perished in the following manner. When he 
came back to Athens, bringing word of the 
calamity, the wives of those who had been sent 
out on the expedition took it sorely to heart 
that he alone should have survived the slaught- 
er of all the rest; they therefore crowded 
round the man, and struck him with the 
brooches by which their dresses were fastened 
each, as she struck, asking him where he 
had left her husband. And the man died in 
this way. The Athenians thought the deed of 
the women more horrible even than the fate of 
the troops; as however they did not know how 
else to punish them, they changed their dress 
and compelled them to wear the costume of 
the lonians. Till this time the Athenian wom- 
en had worn a Dorian dress, shaped nearly 
like that which prevails at Corinth. Hence- 
forth they were made to wear the linen tunic, 
which does not require brooches. 

88. In very truth, however, this dress is not 
originally Ionian, but Carian; for anciently the 
Greek women all wore the costume which is 
now called the Dorian. It is said further that 
the Argives and Eginetans made it a custom, 
on this same account, for their women to wear 
brooches half as large again as formerly, and to 
offer brooches rather than anything else in the 
temple of these goddesses. They also forbade 
the bringing of anything Attic into the temple, 
were it even a jar of earthenware, and made 
a law that none but native drinking vessels 
should be used there in time to come. From 
this early age to my own day the Argive and 
Eginetan women have always continued to 
wear their brooches larger than formerly, 
through hatred of the Athenians. 

89. Such then was the origin of the feud 
which existed between the Eginetans and the 
Athenians. Hence, when the Thebans made 
their application for succour, the Eginetans, 
calling to mind the matter of images, gladly 
lent their aid to the Boeotians. They ravaged 
all the sea-coast of Attica; and the Athenians 
were about to attack them in return, when 
they were stopped by the oracle of Delphi, 
which bade them wait till thirty years had 



passed from the time that the Eginetans did 
the wrong, and in the thirty-first year, having 
first set apart a precinct for ^Eacus, then to be- 
gin the war. "So should they succeed to their 
wish," the oracle said; "but if they went to 
war at once, though they would still conquer 
the island in the end, yet they must go through 
much suffering and much exertion before tak- 
ing it." On receiving this warning the Athen- 
ians set apart a precinct for ^Eacus the same 
which still remains dedicated to him in their 
market-place but they could not hear with 
any patience of waiting thirty years, after they 
had suffered such grievous wrong at the hands 
of the Eginetans. 

90. Accordingly they were making ready to 
take their revenge when a fresh stir on the 
part of the Lacedaemonians hindered their 
projects. These last had become aware of the 
truth how that the Alcmaeonidae had prac- 
tised on the Pythoness, and the Pythoness had 
schemed against themselves, and against the 
Pisistratidar, and the discovery was a double 
grief to them, for while they had driven their 
own sworn friends into exile, they found that 
they had not gained thereby a particle of good 
will from Athens. They were also moved by 
certain prophecies, which declared that many 
dire calamities should befall them at the hands 
of the Athenians. Of these in times past they 
had been ignorant; but now they had become 
acquainted with them by means of Cleomenes, 
who had brought them with him to Sparta, 
having found them in the Athenian citadel, 
where they had been left by the Pisistratidae 
when they were driven from Athens: they 
were in the temple, and Cleomenes having dis- 
covered them, carried them off. 

91. So when the Lacedaemonians obtained 
possession of the prophecies, and saw that the 
Athenians were growing in strength, and had 
no mind to acknowledge any subjection to 
their control, it occurred to them that, if the 
people of Attica were free, they would be like- 
ly to be as powerful as themselves, but if they 
were oppressed by a tyranny, they would be 
weak and submissive. Under this feeling they 
sent and recalled Hippias, the son of Pisistra- 
tus, from Sigeum upon the Hellespont, where 
the Pisistratidae had taken shelter. Hippias 
came at their bidding, and the Spartans on his 
arrival summoned deputies from all their other 
allies, and thus addressed the assembly: 

"Friends and brothers in arms, we are free 
to confess that we did lately a thing which was 
not right. Misled by counterfeit oracles, we 



drove from their country those who were our 
sworn and true friends, and who had, more- 
over, engaged to keep Athens in dependence 
upon us; and we delivered the government 
into the hands of an unthankful people a 
people who no sooner got their freedom by 
our means, and grew in power, than they 
turned us and our king, with every token of 
insult, out of their city. Since then they have 
gone on continually raising their thoughts 
higher, as their neighbours of Boeotia and 
Chalcis have already discovered to their cost, 
and as others too will presently discover if they 
shall offend them. Having thus erred, we will 
endeavour now, with your help, to remedy the 
evils we have caused, and to obtain vengeance 
on the Athenians. For this cause we have sent 
for Hippias to come here, and have summoned 
you likewise from your several states, that we 
may all now with heart and hand unite to re- 
store him to Athens, and thereby give him 
back that which we took from him formerly." 

92. ( i.) Such was the address of the 
Spartans. The greater number of the allies lis- 
tened without being persuaded. None however 
broke silence but Sosicles the Corinthian, who 

"Surely the heaven will soon be below, and 
the earth above, and men will henceforth live 
in the sea, and fish take their place upon the dry 
land, since you, Lacedaemonians, propose to 
put down free governments in the cities of 
Greece, and to set up tyrannies in their room. 
There is nothing in the whole world so unjust, 
nothing so bloody, as a tyranny. If, however, 
it seems to you a desirable thing to have the 
cities under despotic rule, begin by putting a 
tyrant over yourselves, and then establish des- 
pots in the other states. While you continue 
yourselves, as you have always been, unac- 
quainted with tyranny, and take such excellent 
care that Sparta may not suffer from it, to act 
as you are now doing is to treat your allies un- 
worthily. If you knew what tyranny was as 
well as ourselves, you would be better advised 
than you now are in regard to it. (2.) The 
government at Corinth was once an oligarchy 
a single race, called Bacchiadae, who inter- 
married only among themselves, held the man- 
agement of affairs. Now it happened that Am- 
phion, one of these, had a daughter, named 
Labda, who was lame, and whom therefore 
none of the Bacchiadae would consent to mar- 
ry; so she was taken to wife by Action, son of 
Echecrates, a man of the township of Petra, 
who was, however, by descent of the race of 

[BooK v 

the Lapithae, and of the house of Caeneus. Ac- 
tion, as he had no child, either by this wife or 
by any other, went to Delphi to consult the 
oracle concerning the matter. Scarcely had he 
entered the temple when the Pythoness saluted 
him in these words 

No one honours thee now, Action, worthy of hon- 

Labda shall soon be a mother her offspring a 
roct^, that will one day 

Fall on the kingly race, and right the city of Cor- 

By some chance this address of the oracle to 
Action came to the ears of the Bacchiadae, who 
till then had been unable to perceive the mean- 
ing of another earlier prophecy which likewise 
bore upon Corinth, and pointed to the same 
event as Action's prediction. It was the follow- 

When mid the roc1(s an eagle shall bear a carnivo- 
rous lion, 

Mighty and fierce, he shall loosen the limbs of 
many beneath them 

Brood ye well upon this, all ye Corinthian people, 

Ye who dwell by fair Peirene, and beetling Co- 

( 3.) The Bacchiadse had possessed this ora- 
cle for some time; but they were quite at a loss 
to know what it meant until they heard the 
response given to Action; then however they 
at once perceived its meaning, since the two 
agreed so well together. Nevertheless, though 
the bearing of the first prophecy was now 
clear to them, they remained quiet, being 
minded to put to death the child which Ac- 
tion was expecting. As soon, therefore, as his 
wife was delivered, they sent ten of their num- 
ber to the township where Action lived, with 
orders to make away with the baby. So the 
men came to Petra, and went into Action's 
house, and there asked if they might see the 
child; and Labda, who knew nothing of their 
purpose, but thought their inquiries arose 
from a kindly feeling towards her husband, 
brought the child, and laid him in the arms of 
one of them. Now they had agreed by the way 
that whoever first got hold of the child should 
dash it against the ground. It happened, 
however, by a providential chance, that the 
babe, just as Labda put him into the man's 
arms, smiled in his face. The man saw the 
smile, and was touched with pity, so that he 
could not kill it; he therefore passed it on to 
his next neighbour, who gave it to a third; and 
so it went through all the ten without any one 
choosing to be the murderer. The mother re- 




ceived her child back; and the men went out 
of the house, and stood near the door, and 
there blamed and reproached one another; 
chiefly however accusing the man who had 
first had the child in his arms, because he had 
not done as had been agreed upon. At last, 
after much time had been thus spent, they re- 
solved to go into the house again and all take 
part in the murder. ( 4.) But it was fated that 
evil should come upon Corinth from the prog- 
eny of Action; and so it chanced that Labda, 
as she stood near the door, heard all that the 
men said to one another, and fearful of their 
changing their mind, and returning to destroy 
her baby, she carried him off and hid him in 
what seemed to her the most unlikely place to 
be suspected, viz., a 'cypsel* or corn-bin. She 
knew that if they came back to look for the 
child, they would search all her house; and so 
indeed they did, but not finding the child af- 
ter looking everywhere, they thought it best 
to go away, and declare to those by whom they 
had been sent that they had done their bid- 
ding. And thus they reported on their return 
home.. (5.) Action's son grew up, and, in re- 
membrance of the danger from which he had 
escaped, was named Cypselus, after the corn- 
bin. When he reached to man's estate, he went 
to Delphi, and on consulting the oracle, re- 
ceived a response which was two-sided. It was 
the following: 

See there comes to my dwelling a man much fa- 

vour'd oj fortune, 
Cypselus, son oj Action, and fy n g of the glorious 

He and his children too, but not his children's 


Such was the oracle; and Cypselus put so much 
faith in it that he forthwith made his attempt, 
and thereby became master of Corinth. Hav- 
ing thus got the tyranny, he showed himself a 
harsh ruler many of the Corinthians he drove 
into banishment, many he deprived of their 
fortunes, and a still greater number of their 
lives. (6.) His reign lasted thirty years, and 
was prosperous to its close; insomuch that he 
left the government to Periander, his son. This 
prince at the beginning of his reign was of a 
milder temper than his father; but after he cor- 
responded by means of messengers with 
Thrasybulus, tyrant of Miletus, he became 
even more sanguinary. On one occasion he 
sent a herald to ask Thrasybulus what mode 
of government it was safest to set up in order 
to rule with honour. Thrasybulus led the mes- 
senger without the city, and took him into a 

field of corn, through which he began to walk, 
while he asked him again and again concern- 
ing his coming from Corinth, ever as he went 
breaking off and throwing away all such ears 
of corn as over-topped the rest. In this way he 
went through the whole field, and destroyed 
all the best and richest part of the crop; then, 
without a word, he sent the messenger back. 
On the return of the man to Corinth, Perian- 
der was eager to know what Thrasybulus had 
counselled, but the messenger reported that he 
had said nothing; and he wondered that Peri- 
ander had sent him to so strange a man, who 
seemed to have lost his senses, since he did 
nothing but destroy his own property. And 
upon this he told how Thrasybulus had be- 
haved at the interview. (7.) Periander, per- 
ceiving what the action meant, and knowing 
that Thrasybulus advised the destruction of all 
the leading citizens, treated his subjects from 
this time forward with the very greatest cru- 
elty. Where Cypselus had spared any, and had 
neither put them to death nor banished them, 
Periander completed what his father had left 
unfinished. One day he stripped all the women 
of Corinth stark naked, for the sake of his 
own wife Melissa. He had sent messengers into 
Thesprotia to consult the oracle of the dead 
upon the Acheron concerning a pledge which 
had been given into his charge by a stranger, 
and Melissa appeared, but refused to speak or 
tell where the pledge was 'she was chill/ she 
said, 'having no clothes; the garments buried 
with her were of no manner of use, since they 
had not been burnt. And this should be her 
token to Periander, that what she said was true 
the oven was cold when he baked his loaves 
in it.' When this message was brought him, 
Periander knew the token; wherefore he 
straightway made proclamation, that all the 
wives of the Corinthians should go forth to the 
temple of Juno. So the women apparelled 
themselves in their bravest, and went forth, as 
if to a festival. Then, with the help of his 
guards, whom he had placed for the purpose, 
he stripped them one and all, making no dif- 
ference between the free women and the 
slaves; and, taking their clothes to a pit, he 
called on the name of Melissa, and burnt the 
whole heap. This done, he sent a second time 
to the oracle; and Melissa's ghost told him 
where he would find the stranger's pledge. 
Such, O Lacedaemonians! is tyranny, and such 
arc the deeds which spring from it. We Corin- 
thians marvelled greatly when we first knew 
of your having sent for Hippias; and now it 



[BOOK v 

surprises us still more to hear you speak as you 
do. We adjure you, by the common gods of 
Greece, plant not despots in her cities. If how- 
ever you are determined, if you persist, against 
all justice, in seeking to restore Hippias 
know, at least, that the Corinthians will not 
approve your conduct.'* 

93. When Sosicles, the deputy from Cor- 
inth, had thus spoken, Hippias replied, and, 
invoking the same gods, he said "Of a surety 
the Corinthians will, beyond all others, regret 
the Pisistratidae, when the fated days come for 
them to be distressed by the Athenians." Hip- 
pias spoke thus because he knew the prophe- 
cies better than any man living. But the rest of 
the allies, who till Sosicles spoke had remained 
quiet, when they heard him utter his thoughts 
thus boldly, all together broke silence, and 
declared themselves of the same mind; and 
withal, they conjured the Lacedaemonians "not 
to revolutionise a Grecian city." And in this 
way the enterprise came to nought. 

94. Hippias hereupon withdrew; and Am- 
yntas the Macedonian offered him the city of 
Anthemus, while the Thessalians were willing 
to give him lolcos: but he would accept neither 
the one nor the other, preferring to go back to 
Sigeum, which city Pisistratus had taken by 
force of arms from the Mytilenaeans. Pisistra- 
tus, when he became master of the place, es- 
tablished there as tyrant his own natural son, 
Hegesistratus, whose mother was an Argive 
woman. But this prince was not allowed to en- 
joy peaceably what his father had made over 
to him; for during very many years there had 
been war between the Athenians of Sigeum 
and the Mytilenxans of the city called Achil- 
leum. They of Mytilene insisted on having the 
place restored to them: but the Athenians re- 
fused, since they argued that the ^Eolians had 
no better claim to the Trojan territory than 
themselves, or than any of the other Greeks 
who helped Menelaus on occasion of the rape 
of Helen. 

95. War accordingly continued, with many 
and various incidents, whereof the following 
was one. In a battle which was gained by the 
Athenians, the poet Alcaeus took to flight, and 
saved himself, but lost his arms, which fell into 
the hands of the conquerors. They hung them 
up in the temple of Minerva at Sigeum; and 
Alcaeus made a poem, describing his misadven- 
ture to his friend Melanippus, and sent it to 
him at Mytilene. The Mytilenaeans and Athen- 
ians were reconciled by Periander, the son of 
Cypselus, who was chosen by both parties as 

arbiter he decided that they should each re- 
tain that of which they were at the time pos- 
sessed; and Sigeum passed in this way under 
the dominion of Athens. 

96. On the return of Hippias to Asia from 
Lacedaemon, he moved heaven and earth to 
set Artaphernes against the Athenians, and 
did all that lay in his power to bring Athens 
into subjection to himself and Darius. So when 
the Athenians learnt what he was about, they 
sent envoys to Sardis, and exhorted the Per- 
sians not to lend an ear to the Athenian exiles. 
Artaphernes told them in reply, "that if they 
wished to remain safe, they must receive back 
Hippias." The Athenians, when this answer 
was reported to them, determined not to con- 
sent, and therefore made up their minds to be 
at open enmity with the Persians. 

97. The Athenians had come to this deci- 
sion, and were already in bad odour with the 
Persians, when Aristagoras the Milesian, dis- 
missed from Sparta by Cleomenes the Lacede- 
monian, arrived at Athens. He knew that, 
after Sparta, Athens was the most powerful of 
the Grecian states. Accordingly he appeared 
before the people, and, as he had done at Spar- 
ta, spoke to them of the good things which 
there were in Asia, and of the Persian mode of 
fight how they used neither shield nor spear, 
and were very easy to conquer. All this he 
urged, and reminded them also that Miletus 
was a colony from Athens, and therefore ought 
to receive their succour, since they were so 
powerful and in the earnestness of his en- 
treaties, he cared little what he promised till, 
at the last, he prevailed and won them over. It 
seems indeed to be easier to deceive a multi- 
tude than one man for Aristagoras, though 
he failed to impose on Cleomenes the Lacedae- 
monian, succeeded with the Athenians, who 
were thirty thousand. Won by his persuasions, 
they voted that twenty ships should be sent to 
the aid of the lonians, under the command of 
Melanthius, one of the citizens, a man of mark 
in every way. These ships were the beginning 
of mischief both to the Greeks and to the bar- 

98. Aristagoras sailed away in advance, and 
when he reached Miletus, devised a plan, from 
which no manner of advantage could possibly 
accrue to the lonians; indeed, in forming it, 
he did not aim at their benefit, but his sole 
wish was to annoy King Darius. He sent a 
messenger into Phrygia to those Paeonians who 
had been led away captive by Megabazus from 
the river Strymon, and who now dwelt by 




themselves in Phrygia, having a tract of land 
and a hamlet of their own. This man, when 
he reached the Paeonians, spoke thus to 

"Men of Paeonia, Aristagoras, king of Mile- 
tus, has sent me to you, to inform you that you 
may now escape, if you choose to follow the 
advice he proffers. All Ionia has revolted from 
the king; and the way is open to you to return 
to your own land. You have only to contrive 
to reach the sea-coast; the rest shall be our busi- 

When the Paeonians heard this, they were 
exceedingly rejoiced, and, taking with them 
their wives and children, they made all speed 
to the coast; a few only remaining in Phrygia 
through fear. The rest, having reached the sea, 
crossed over to Chios, where they had just 
landed, when a great troop of Persian horse 
came following upon their heels, and seeking 
to overtake them. Not succeeding, however, 
they sent a message across to Chios, and 
begged the Paeonians to come back again. 
These last refused, and were conveyed by the 
Chians from Chios to Lesbos, and by the Les- 
bians thence to Doriscus; from which place 
they made their way on foot to Paeonia. 

99. The Athenians now arrived with a fleet 
of twenty sail, and brought also in their com- 
pany five triremes of the Eretrians; which had 
joined the expedition, not so much out of 
goodwill towards Athens, as to pay a debt 
which they already owed to the people of Mile- 
tus. For in the old war between the Chalcide- 
ans and Eretrians, the Milesians fought on the 
Eretrian side throughout, while the Chalcide- 
ans had the help of the Samian people. Aris- 
tagoras, on their arrival, assembled the rest of 
his allies, and proceeded to attack Sardis, not 
however leading the army in person, but ap- 
pointing to the command his own brother 
Charopinus and Hermophantus, one of the 
citizens, while he himself remained behind in 

100. The lonians sailed with this fleet to 
Ephesus, and, leaving their ships at Coressus 
in the Ephesian territory, took guides from the 
city, and went up the country with a great 
host. They marched along the course of the 
river Cayster, and, crossing over the ridge of 
Tmolus, came down upon Sardis and took it, 
no man opposing them; the whole city fell 
into their hands, except only the citadel, which 
Artaphernes defended in person, having with 
him no contemptible force. 

xoi. Though, however, they took the city, 

they did not succeed in plundering it; for, as 
the houses in Sardis were most of them built 
of reeds, and even the few which were of brick 
had a reed thatching for their roof, one of 
them was no sooner fired by a soldier than the 
flames ran speedily from house to house, and 
spread over the whole place. As the fire raged, 
the Lydians and such Persians as were in the 
city, inclosed on every side by the flames, 
which had seized all the skirts of the town, 
and finding themselves unable to get out, came 
in crowds into the market-place, and gathered 
themselves upon the banks of the Pactolus. 
This stream, which comes down from Mount 
Tmolus, and brings the Sardians a quantity of 
gold-dust, runs directly through the market 
place of Sardis, and joins the Hermus, before 
that river reaches the sea. So the Lydians and 
Persians, brought together in this way in the 
market-place and about the Pactolus, were 
forced to stand on their defence; and the loni- 
ans, when they saw the enemy in part resist- 
ing, in part pouring towards them in dense 
crowds, took fright, and drawing off to the 
ridge which is called Tmolus, when night 
came, went back to their ships. 

102. Sardis however was burnt, and, among 
other buildings, a temple of the native god- 
dess Cybele was destroyed; which was the rea- 
son afterwards alleged by the Persians for set- 
ting on fire the temples of the Greeks. As soon 
as what had happened was known, all the 
Persians who were stationed on this side the 
Halys drew together, and brought help to the 
Lydians. Finding however, when they arrived, 
that the lonians had already withdrawn from 
Sardis, they set off, and, following close upon 
their track, came up with them at Ephesus. 
The lonians drew out against them in battle 
array; and a fight ensued, wherein the Greeks 
had very greatly the worse. Vast numbers were 
slain by the Persians: among other men of 
note, they killed the captain of the Eretrians, 
a certain Eualcidas, a man who had gained 
crowns at the Games, and received much praise 
from Simonides the Cean. Such as made their 
escape from the battle, dispersed among the 
several cities. 

103. So ended this encounter. Afterwards 
the Athenians quite forsook the lonians, and, 
though Aristagoras besought them much by 
his ambassadors, refused to give him any furth- 
er help. Still the lonians, notwithstanding this 
desertion, continued unceasingly their prepa- 
rations to carry on the war against the Persian 
king, which their late conduct towards him 



[BOOK v 

had rendered unavoidable. Sailing into the 
Hellespont, they brought Byzantium, and all 
the other cities in that quarter, under their 
sway. Again, quitting the Hellespont, they 
went to Caria, and won the greater part of the 
Carians to their side; while Caunus, which 
had formerly refused to join with them, after 
the burning of Sardis, came over likewise. 

104. All the Cyprians too, excepting those of 
Amathus, of their own proper motion es- 
poused the Ionian cause. The occasion of their 
revolting from the Medes was the following. 
There was a certain Onesilus, younger brother 
of Gorgus, king of Salamis, and son of Chcrsis, 
who was son of Siromus, and grandson of 
Evelthon. This man had often in former times 
entreated Gorgus to rebel against the king; 
but, when he heard of the revolt of the lonians, 
he left him no peace with his importunity. 
As, however, Gorgus would not hearken to 
him, he watched his occasion, and when his 
brother had gone outside the town, he with 
his partisans closed the gates upon him. Gor- 
gus, thus deprived of his city, fled to the 
Medes; and Onesilus, being now king of Sala- 
mis, sought to bring about a revolt of the 
whole of Cyprus. All were prevailed on except 
the Amathusians, who refused to listen to him; 
whereupon Onesilus sate down before Ama- 
thus, and laid siege to it. 

105. While Onesilus was engaged in the 
siege of Amathus, King Darius received tid- 
ings of the taking and burning of Sardis by the 
Athenians and lonians; and at the same time 
he learnt that the author of the league, the 
man by whom the whole matter had been 
planned and contrived, was Aristagoras the 
Milesian. It is said that he no sooner under- 
stood what had happened, than, laying aside 
all thought concerning the lonians, who 
would, he was sure, pay dear for their rebel- 
lion, he asked, "Who the Athenians were?" 
and, being informed, called for his bow, and 
placing an arrow on the string, shot upward 
into the sky, saying, as he let fly the shaft 
"Grant me, Jupiter, to revenge myself on the 
Athenians!" After this speech, he bade one of 
his servants every day, when his dinner was 
spread, three times repeat these words to 
him "Master, remember the Athenians." 

1 06. Then he summoned into his presence 
Histiaeus of Miletus, whom he had kept at his 
court for so long a time; and on his appearance 
addressed him thus "I am told, O Histiaeus, 
that thy lieutenant, to whom thou hast given 
Miletus in charge, has raised a rebellion against 

me. He has brought men from the other conti- 
nent to contend with me, and, prevailing on 
the lonians whose conduct I shall know how 
to recompense to join with this force, he has 
robbed me of Sardis! Is this as it should be, 
thmkest thou? Or can it have been done with- 
out thy knowledge and advice? Beware lest it 
be found hereafter that the blame of these acts 
is thine." 

Histiaeus answered "What words are these, 
O king, to which thou hast given utterance? I 
advise aught from which unpleasantness of 
any kind, little or great, should come to thee! 
What could I gain by so doing? Or what is 
there that I lack now? Have I not all that thou 
hast, and am I not thought worthy to partake 
all thy counsels? If my lieutenant has indeed 
done as thou sayest, be sure he has done it all 
of his own head. For my part, I do not think 
it can really be that the Milesians and my lieu- 
tenant have raised a rebellion against thee. But 
if they have indeed committed aught to thy 
hurt, and the tidings are true which have come 
to thee, judge thou how ill-advised thou wert 
to remove me from the sea-coast. The lonians, 
it seems, have waited till I was no longer in 
sight, and then sought to execute that which 
they long ago desired; whereas, if I had been 
there, not a single city would have stirred. 
Suffer me then to hasten at my best speed to 
Ionia, that I may place matters there upon 
their former footing, and deliver up to thee the 
deputy of Miletus, who has caused all the 
troubles. Having managed this business to thy 
heart's content, I swear by all the gods of thy 
royal house, I will not put off the clothes in 
which I reach Ionia till I have made Sardinia, 
the biggest island in the world, thy tributary." 

107. Histiaeus spoke thus, wishing to de- 
ceive the king; and Darius, persuaded by his 
words, let him go; only bidding him be sure 
to do as he had promised, and afterwards 
come back to Susa. 

1 08. In the meantime while the tidings of 
the burning of Sardis were reaching the king, 
and Darius was shooting the arrow and hav- 
ing the conference with Histiaeus, and the lat- 
ter, by permission of Darius, was hastening 
down to the sea in Cyprus the following 
events took place. Tidings came to Onesilus, 
the Salaminian, who was still besieging Ama- 
thus, that a certain Artybius, a Persian, was 
looked for to arrive in Cyprus with a great 
Persian armament. So Onesilus, when the 
news reached him, sent off heralds to all parts 
of Ionia, and besought the lonians to give him 


aid. After briet deliberation, these last in full 
force passed over into the island; and the Per- 
sians about the same time crossed in their ships 
from Cilicia, and proceeded by land to attack 
Salamis; while the Phoenicians, with the fleet, 
sailed round the promontory which goes by the 
name of "the Keys of Cyprus." 

109. In this posture of affairs the princes of 
Cyprus called together the captains of the loni- 
ans, and thus addressed them: 

"Men of Ionia, we Cyprians leave it to you 
to choose whether you will fight with the Per- 
sians or with the Phoenicians. If it be your 
pleasure to try your strength on land against 
the Persians, come on shore at once, and array 
yourselves for the battle; we will then embark 
aboard your ships and engage the Phoenicians 
by sea. If, on the other hand, ye prefer to en- 
counter the Phoenicians, let that be your task: 
only be sure, whichever part you choose, to ac- 
quit yourselves so that Ionia and Cyprus, so far 
as depends on you, may preserve their free- 

The lonians made answer "The common- 
wealth of Ionia sent us here to guard the sea, 
not to make over our ships to you, and engage 
with the Persians on shore. We will therefore 
keep the post which has been assigned to us, 
and seek therein to be of some service. Do you, 
remembering what you suffered when you 
were the slaves of the Medes, behave like brave 

no. Such was the reply of the lonians. Not 
long afterwards the Persians advanced into the 
plain before Salamis, and the Cyprian kings 
ranged their troops in order of battle against 
them, placing them so that while the rest of 
the Cyprians were drawn up against the auxil- 
iaries of the enemy, the choicest troops of the 
Salaminians and the Solians were set to oppose 
the Persians. At the same time Onesilus, of his 
own accord, took post opposite to Artybius, 
the Persian general. 

in. Now Artybius rode a horse which had 
been trained to rear up against a foot-soldier. 
Onesilus, informed of this, called to him his 
shieldbearer, who was a Carian by nation, a 
man well skilled in war, and of daring cour- 
age; and thus addressed him: "I hear," he 
said, "that the horse which Artybius rides, 
rears up and attacks with his fore legs and teeth 
the man against whom his rider urges him. 
Consider quickly therefore and tell me which 
wilt thou undertake to encounter, the steed or 
the rider?" Then the squire answered him, 
"Both, my liege, or either, am I ready to un- 



dertake, and there is nothing that I will shrink 
from at thy bidding. But I will tell thee what 
seems to me to make most for thy interests. As 
thou art a prince and a general, I think thou 
shouldest engage with one who is himself both 
a prince and also a general. For then, if thou 
slayest thine adversary, 'twill redound to thine 
honour, and if he slays thee (which may 
Heaven forefend!), yet to fall by the hand of a 
worthy foe makes death lose half its horror. 
To us, thy followers, leave his war-horse and 
his retinue. And have thou no fear of the 
horse's tricks. I warrant that this is the last 
time he will stand up against any one." 

112. Thus spake the Carian; and shortly 
after, the two hosts joined battle both by sea 
and land. And here it chanced that by sea the 
lonians, who that day fought as they have never 
done either before or since, defeated the Phoe- 
nicians, the Samians especially distinguishing 
themselves. Meanwhile the combat had begun 
on land, and the two armies were engaged in 
a sharp struggle, when thus it fell out in the 
matter of the generals. Artybius, astride upon 
his horse, charged down upon Onesilus, who, 
as he had agreed with his shieldbearer, aimed 
his blow at the rider; the horse reared and 
placed his fore feet upon the shield of Onesi- 
lus, when the Carian cut at him with a reap- 
ing-hook, and severed the two legs from the 
body. The horse fell upon the spot, and Arty- 
bius, the Persian general, with him. 

113. In the thick of the fight, Stesanor, ty- 
rant of Curium, who commanded no incon- 
siderable body of troops, went over with them 
to the enemy. On this desertion of the Curians 
Argive colonists, if report says true forth- 
with the war-chariots of the Salaminians fol- 
lowed the example set them, and went over 
likewise; whereupon victory declared in fa- 
vour of the Persians; and the army of the Cy- 
prians being routed, vast numbers were slain, 
and among them Onesilus, the son of Chcrsis, 
who was the author of the revolt, and Aris- 
tocyprus, king of the Solians. This Aristocy- 
prus was son of Philocyprus, whom Solon the 
Athenian, when he visited Cyprus, praised in 
his poems beyond all other sovereigns. 

114. The Amathusians, because Onesilus 
had laid siege to their town, cut the head off 
his corpse, and took it with them to Amathus, 
where it was set up over the gates. Here it 
hung till it became hollow; whereupon a 
swarm of bees took possession of it, and filled 
it with a honeycomb. On seeing this the Ama- 
thusians consulted the oracle, and were com- 



[BOOK v 

mancied "to take down the head and bury it, 
and thenceforth to regard Onesilus as a hero, 
and offer sacrifice to him year by year; so it 
would go the better with them." And to this day 
the Amathusians do as they were then bidden. 

115. As for the lonians who had gained the 
sea-fight, when they found that the affairs of 
Onesilus were utterly lost and ruined, and that 
siege was laid to all the cities of Cyprus ex- 
cepting Salamis, which the inhabitants had 
surrendered to Gorgus, the former king 
forthwith they left Cyprus, and sailed away 
home. Of the cities which were besieged, Soli 
held out the longest: the Persians took it by 
undermining the wall in the fifth month from 
the beginning of the siege. 

1 1 6. Thus, after enjoying a year of freedom, 
the Cyprians were enslaved for the second 
time. Meanwhile Daurises, who was married 
to one of the daughters of Darius, together 
with Hymeas, Otanes, and other Persian cap- 
tains, who were likewise married to daughters 
of the king, after pursuing the lonians who 
had fought at Sardis, defeating them, and driv- 
ing them to their ships, divided their efforts 
against the different cities, and proceeded in 
succession to take and sack each one of them. 

117. Daurises attacked the towns upon the 
Hellespont, and took in as many days the five 
cities of Dardanus, Abydos, Percote', Lampsa- 
cus, and Paesus. From Paesus he marched 
against Parium; but on his way receiving in- 
telligence that the Carians had made common 
cause with the lonians, and thrown off the 
Persian yoke, he turned round, and, leaving 
the Hellespont, marched away towards Caria. 

1 18. The Carians by some chance got infor- 
mation of this movement before Daurises ar- 
rived, and drew together their strength to a 
place called "the White Columns/* which is 
on the river Marsyas, a stream running from 
the Idrian country, and emptying itself into 
the Maeander. Here when they were met, 
many plans were put forth; but the best, in my 
judgment, was that of Pixodarus, the son of 
Mausolus, a Cindyan, who was married to a 
daughter of Syennesis, the Cilician king. His 
advice was that the Carians should cross the 
Maeander, and fight with the river at their 
back; that so, all chance of flight being cut off, 
they might be forced to stand their ground, 
and have their natural courage raised to a 
still higher pitch. His opinion, however, did 
not prevail; it was thought best to make the 
enemy have the Maeander behind them; that 
so, if they were defeated in the battle and put 

to flight, they might have no retreat open, but 
be driven headlong into the river. 

119. The Persians soon afterwards ap- 
proached, and, crossing the Maeander, engaged 
the Carians upon the banks of the Marsyas; 
where for a long time the battle was stoutly 
contested, but at last the Carians were defeated, 
being overpowered by numbers. On the side 
of the Persians there fell 2000, while the Cari- 
ans had not fewer than 10,000 slain. Such as 
escaped from the field of battle collected to- 
gether at Labranda, in the vast precinct of 
Jupiter Stratius a deity worshipped only by 
the Carians and in the sacred grove of plane- 
trees. Here they deliberated as to the best 
means of saving themselves, doubting whether 
they would fare better if they gave themselves 
up to the Persians, or if they abandoned Asia 
for ever. 

120. As they were debating these matters a 
body of Milesians and allies came to their as- 
sistance; whereupon the Carians, dismissing 
their former thoughts, prepared themselves 
afresh for war, and on the approach of the Per- 
sians gave them battle a second time. They 
were defeated, however, with still greater loss 
than before; and while all the troops engaged 
suffered severely, the blow fell with most force 
on the Milesians. 

121. The Carians, some while after, re- 
paired their ill fortune in another action. Un- 
derstanding that the Persians were about to at- 
tack their cities, they laid an ambush for them 
on the road which leads to Pedasus; the Per- 
sians, who were making a night-march, fell 
into the trap, and the whole army was de- 
stroyed, together with the generals, Daurises, 

. Amorges, and Sisimaces: Myrsus too, the son 
of Gyges, was killed at the same time. The 
leader of the ambush was Heraclides, the son 
of Iban&lis, a man of Mylasa. Such was the 
way in which these Persians perished. 

122. In the meantime Hymeas, who was 
likewise one of those by whom the lonians 
were pursued after their attack on Sardis, 
directing his course towards the Propontis, 
took Cius, a city of Mysia. Learning, however, 
that Daurises had left the Hellespont, and was 
gone into Caria, he in his turn quitted the Pro- 
pontis, and marching with the army under his 
command to the Hellespont, reduced all the 
^Eolians of the Troad, and likewise conquered 
the Gergithae, a remnant of the ancient Teu- 
crians. He did not, however, quit the Troad, 
but, after gaining these successes, was himself 
carried off by disease. 




123. After his death, which happened as I 
have related, Artaphernes, the satrap of Sardis, 
and Otanes, the third general, were directed to 
undertake the conduct of the war against Ionia 
and the neighbouring ^Eolis. By them Clazo- 
menae in the former, and Cyme in the latter, 
were recovered. 

124. As the cities fell one after another, 
Anstagoras the Milesian (who was in truth, as 
he now plainly showed, a man of but little 
courage), notwithstanding that it was he who 
had caused the disturbances in Ionia and made 
so great a commotion, began, seeing his dan- 
ger, to look about for means of escape. Being 
convinced that it was in vain to endeavour to 
overcome King Darius, he called his brothers- 
in-arms together, and laid before them the 
following project: " 'Twould be well," he 
said, "to have some place of refuge, in case they 
were driven out of Miletus. Should he go out 
at the head of a colony to Sardinia, or should 
he sail to Myrcinus in Edonia, which Histiarus 

had received as a gift from King Darius, and 
had begun to fortify?" 

125. To this question of Aristagoras, Heca- 
taeus, the historian, son of Hegesander, made 
answer that in his judgment neither place was 
suitable. "Aristagoras should build a fort," he 
said, "in the island of Leros, and, if driven 
from Miletus, should go there and bide his 
time; from Leros attacks might readily be made, 
and he might re-establish himself in Miletus." 
Such was the advice given by Hecataeus. 

126. Aristagoras, however, was bent on re- 
tiring to Myrcinus. Accordingly, he put the 
government of Miletus into the hands of one 
of the chief citizens, named Pythagoras, and, 
taking with him all who liked to go, sailed to 
Thrace, and there made himself master of the 
place in question. From thence he proceeded to 
attack the Thracians; but here he was cut off 
with his whole army, while besieging a city 
whose defenders were anxious to accept terms 
of surrender. 

The Sixth Book, Entitled 


r, ARISTAGORAS, the author of the Ionian re- 
volt, perished in the way which I have de- 
scribed. Meanwhile Histiaeus, tyrant of Mile- 
tus, who had been allowed by Darius to leave 
Susa, came down to Sardis. On his arrival, 
being asked by Artaphernes, the Sardian 
satrap, what he thought was the reason that 
the lonians had rebelled, he made answer that 
he could not conceive, and it had astonished 
him greatly, pretending to be quite uncon- 
scious of the whole business. Artaphernes, 
however, who perceived that he was dealing 
dishonestly, and who had in fact full knowl- 
edge of the whole history of the outbreak, said 
to him, "I will tell thee how the case stands, 
Histiaeus: this shoe is of thy stitching; Arista- 
goras has but put it on/* 

2. Such was the remark made by Arta- 
phernes concerning the rebellion. Histiaeus, 
alarmed at the knowledge which he displayed, 
so soon as night fell, fled away to the coast. 
Thus he forfeited his word to Darius; for 
though he had pledged himself to bring 
Sardinia, the biggest island in the whole 
world, under the Persian yoke, he in reality 
sought to obtain the direction of the war 
against the king. Crossing over to Chios, he 
was there laid in bonds by the inhabitants, 
who accused him of intending some mischief 
against them in the interest of Darius. How- 
ever, when the 3vhole truth was laid before 
them, and they found that Histiaeus was in 
reality a foe to the king, they forthwith set him 
at large again. 

3. After this the lonians inquired of him 
for what reason he had so strongly urged Aris- 
tagoras to revolt from the king, thereby doing 
their nation so ill a service. In reply, he took 
good care not to disclose to them the real cause, 
but told them that King Darius had intended 
to remove the Phoenicians from their own 
country, and place them in Ionia, while he 

planted the lonians in Phoenicia, and that it 
was for this reason he sent Aristagoras the 
order. Now it was not true that the king had 
entertained any such intention, but Histiaeus 
succeeded hereby in arousing the fears of the 

4. After this, Histiaeus, by means of a cer- 
tain Hermippus, a native of Atarneus, sent 
letters to many of the Persians in Sardis, who 
had before held some discourse with him con- 
cerning a revolt. Hermippus, however, instead 
of conveying them to the persons to whom they 
were addressed, delivered them into the hands 
of Artaphernes, who, perceiving what was on 
foot, commanded Hermippus to deliver the 
letters according to their addresses, and then 
bring him back the answers which were sent 
to Histiaeus. The traitors being in this way dis- 
covered, Artaphernes put a number of Persians 
to death, and caused a commotion in Sardis. 

5. As for Histiaeus, when his hopes in this 
matter were disappointed, he persuaded the 
Chians to carry him back to Miletus; but the 
Milesians were too well pleased at having got 
quit of Aristagoras to be anxious to receive 
another tyrant into their country; besides 
which they had now tasted liberty. They there- 
fore opposed his return; and when he en- 
deavoured to force an entrance during the 
night, one of the inhabitants even wounded 
him in the thigh. Having been thus rejected 
from his country, he went back to Chios; 
whence, after failing in an attempt to induce 
the Chians to give him ships, he crossed over 
to Mytilenc, where he succeeded in obtaining 
vessels from the Lesbians. They fitted out a 
squadron of eight triremes, and sailed with 
him to the Hellespont, where they took up 
their station, and proceeded to seize all the 
vessels which passed out from the Euxine, un- 
less the crews declared themselves ready to 
obey his orders. 




6. While Histiaeus and the Mytilenacans 
were thus employed, Miletus was expecting an 
attack from a vast armament, which comprised 
both a fleet and also a land force. The Persian 
captains had drawn their several detachments 
together, and formed them into a single army; 
and had resolved to pass over all the other 
cities, which they regarded as of lesser account, 
and to march straight on Miletus. Of the 
naval states, Phoenicia showed the greatest 
zeal; but the fleet was composed likewise 
of the Cyprians (who had so lately been 
brought under), the Cilicians, and also the 

7. While the Persians were thus making 
preparations against Miletus and Ionia, the 
lonians, informed of their intent, sent their 
deputies to the Panionium, and held a council 
upon the posture of their affairs. Hereat it was 
determined that no land force should be col- 
lected to oppose the Persians, but that the 
Milesians should be left to defend their own 
walls as they could; at the same time they 
agreed that the whole naval force of the states, 
not excepting a single ship, should be 
equipped, and should muster at Lade, a small 
island lying off Miletus to give battle on be- 
half of the place. 

8. Presently the lonians began to assemble 
in their ships, and with them came the fiLoli- 
ans of Lesbos; and in this way they marshalled 
their line:--The wing towards the east was 
formed of the Milesians themselves, who fur- 
nished eighty ships; next to them came the 
Prienians with twelve, and the Myusians with 
three ships; after the Myusians were stationed 
the Teians, whose ships were seventeen; then 
the Chians, who furnished a hundred. The 
Erythraeans and Phocaeans followed, the for- 
mer with eight, the latter with three ships; be- 
yond the Phocaeans were the Lesbians, furnish- 
ing seventy; last of all came the Samians, 
forming the western wing, and furnishing 
sixty vessels. The fleet amounted in all to three 
hundred and fifty-three triremes. Such was the 
number on the Ionian side. 

9. On the side of the barbarians the number 
of vessels was six hundred. These assembled 
off the coast of Milesia, while the land army 
collected upon the shore; but the leaders, learn- 
ing the strength of the Ionian fleet, began to 
fear lest they might fail to defeat them, in 
which case, not having the mastery at sea, they 
would be unable to reduce Miletus, and might 
in consequence receive rotfgh treatment at the 
hands of Darius. So when they thought of all 

these things, they resolved on the following 
course: Calling together the Ionian tyrants, 
who had fled to the Medes for refuge when 
Aristagoras deposed them from their govern- 
ments, and who were now in camp, having 
joined in the expedition against Miletus, the 
Persians addressed them thus: "Men of Ionia, 
now is the fit time to show your zeal for the 
house of the king. Use your best efforts, every 
one of you, to detach your fellow-countrymen 
from the general body. Hold forth to them the 
promise that, if they submit, no harm shall 
happen to them on account of their rebellion; 
their temples shall not be burnt, nor any of 
their private buildings; neither shall they be 
treated with greater harshness than before the 
outbreak. But if they refuse to yield, and de- 
termine to try the chance of a battle, threaten 
them with the fate which shall assuredly over- 
take them in that case. Tell them, when they 
are vanquished in fight, they shall be en- 
slaved; their boys shall be made eunuchs, and 
their maidens transported to Bactra; while 
their country shall be delivered into the hands 
of foreigners." 

10. Thus spake the Persians. The Ionian 
tyrants sent accordingly by night to their re- 
spective citizens, and reported the words of 
the Persians; but the people were all staunch, 
and refused to betray their countrymen, those 
of each state thinking that they alone had had 
overtures made to them. Now these events 
happened on the first appearance of the Per- 
sians before Miletus. 

11. Afterwards, while the Ionian fleet was 
still assembled at Lade", councils were held, 
and speeches made by divers persons among 
the rest by Dionysius, the Phocaean captain, 
who thus expressed himself: "Our affairs 
hang on the razor's edge, men of Ionia, either 
to be free or to be slaves; and slaves, too, who 
have shown themselves runaways. Now then 
you have to choose whether you will endure 
hardships, and so for the present lead a life of 
toil, but thereby gain ability to overcome your 
enemies and establish your own freedom; or 
whether you will persist in this slothfulness 
and disorder, in which case I see no hope of 
your escaping the king's vengeance for your 
rebellion. I beseech you, be persuaded by me, 
and trust yourselves to my guidance. Then, if 
the gods only hold the balance fairly between 
us, I undertake to say that our foes will either 
decline a battle, or, if they fight, suffer com- 
plete discomfiture." 

12. These words prevailed with the lonians, 



[BOOK vi 

and forthwith they committed themselves to 
Dionysius; whereupon he proceeded every day 
to make the ships move in column, and the 
rowers ply their oars, and exercise themselves 
in breaking the line; while the marines were 
held under arms, and the vessels were kept, till 
evening fell, upon their anchors, so that the 
men had nothing but toil from morning even 
to night. Seven days did the lonians continue 
obedient, and do whatsoever he bade them; 
but on the eighth day, worn out by the hard- 
ness of the work and the heat of the sun, and 
quite unaccustomed to such fatigues, they be- 
gan to confer together, and to say one to anoth- 
er, "What god have we offended to bring upon 
ourselves such a punishment as this? Fools and 
distracted that we were, to put ourselves into 
the hands of this Phocaean braggart, who does 
but furnish three ships to the fleet! He, now 
that he has got us, plagues us in the most 
desperate fashion; many of us, in consequence, 
have fallen sick already many more expect 
to follow. We had better suffer anything rather 
than these hardships; even the slavery with 
which we are threatened, however harsh, can 
be no worse than our present thraldom. Come, 
let us refuse him obedience." So saying, they 
forthwith ceased to obey his orders, and 
pitched their tents, as if they had been soldiers, 
upon the island, where they reposed under the 
shade all day, and refused to go aboard the 
ships and train themselves. 

13. Now when the Samian captains per- 
ceived what was taking place, they were more 
inclined than before to accept the terms which 
jfeaces, the son of Syloson, had been authorised 
by the Persians to offer them, on condition of 
their deserting from the confederacy. For they 
saw that all was disorder among the lonians, 
and they felt also that it was hopeless to con- 
tend with the power of the king; since if they 
defeated the fleet which had been sent against 
them, they knew that another would come five 
times as great. So they took advantage of the 
occasion which now offered, and as soon as 
ever they saw the lonians refuse to work, has- 
tened gladly to provide for the safety of their 
temples and their properties. This ^Eaces, who 
made the overtures to the Samians, was the 
son of Syloson, and grandson of the earlier 
^aces. He had formerly been tyrant of Samos, 
but was ousted from his government by Arista- 
goras the Milesian, at the same time with the 
other tyrants of the lonians. 

14. The Phoenicians soon afterwards sailed 
to the attack; and the lonians likewise put 

themselves in line, and went out to meet them. 
When they had now neared one another, and 
joined battle, which of the lonians fought like 
brave men and which like cowards, I cannot 
declare with any certainty, for charges are 
brought on all sides; but the tale goes that the 
Samians, according to the agreement which 
they had made with ^aces, hoisted sail, and 
quitting their post bore away for Samos, ex- 
cept eleven ships, whose captains gave no heed 
to the orders of the commanders, but remained 
and took part in the battle. The state of Samos, 
in consideration of this action, granted to these 
men, as an acknowledgment of their bravery, 
the honour of having their names, and the 
names of their fathers, inscribed upon a pillar, 
which still stands in the market-place. The 
Lesbians also, when they saw the Samians, 
who were drawn up next them, begin to flee, 
themselves did the like; and the example, once 
set, was followed by the greater number of the 

15. Of those who remained and fought, 
none were so rudely handled as the Chians, 
who displayed prodigies of valour, and dis- 
dained to play the part of cowards. They fur- 
nished to the common fleet, as I mentioned 
above, one hundred ships, having each of them 
forty armed citizens, and those picked men, on 
board; and when they saw the greater portion 
of the allies betraying the common cause, they 
for their part, scorning to imitate the base 
conduct of these traitors, although they were 
left almost alone and unsupported, a very few 
friends continuing to stand by them, notwith- 
standing went on with the fight, and ofttimes 
cut the line of the enemy, until at last, after 
they had taken very many of their adversaries' 
ships, they ended by losing more than half of 
their own. Hereupon, with the remainder of 
their vessels, the Chians fled away to their own 

1 6. As for such of their ships as were dam- 
aged and disabled, these, being pursued by the 
enemy, made straight for Mycale*, where the 
crews ran them ashore, and abandoning them 
began their march along the continent. Hap- 
pening in their way upon the territory of Ephe- 
sus, they essayed t